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September 9, 2009

The Sayano-Shushenskaya dam accident

On August 17th, near Sayanogorsk in south central Russia, a catastrophic accident took place in the turbine and transformer rooms of the hydroelectric plant of the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam. The exact cause is still under investigation, but what is known so far is that a tremendous amount of water from the Yenisei River flooded the turbine room, causing at least one transformer explosion and extensive damage to all ten turbines, destroying at least three of them. 74 workers are known to have lost their lives in the accident, while one remains missing. Additionally, 40 tons of transformer oil were spilled into the river, killing an estimated 400 tons of trout in two fisheries. Investigators plan to release findings in two months, as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for a nationwide infrastructure inspection. (32 photos total)

Rescuers work in the debris of the damaged dam of Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station near the Siberian village of Cheryomushki, about 520 km (323 miles) south of Krasnoyarsk, Russia on August 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin)

The Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power dam is seen from above Cheryomushky, Russia on August 20, 2009. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

The Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power dam is seen from a helicopter in Cheryomushky on August 20, 2009. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

The Generator Hall of Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station, seen intact on June 25th, 2009, weeks before the accident. Original here. (Andrey Korzun / CC BY-SA [licensed here]) #

The same hall as photo #4 above, seen after the accident. Rescuers work in the debris of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station near Siberian village of Cheryomushki, August 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

Damage to the Sayano-Shushinskaya power station in southern Siberia is seen Monday, Aug. 17, 2009 in this photo released by the Emergency Ministry, Siberian Branch on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009. (AP Photo/Emergency Ministry, Siberian Branch) #

Rescuers cut steel on the site of the damaged Sayano-Shushenskaya dam on August 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

Rescuers carry a stretcher with the body of a victim at the damaged Sayano-Shushenskaya dam near the Siberian village of Cheryomushki, on August 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

Russian emergency rescuers work at the scene of an accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station in Cheryomushky on August 19, 2009. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

A rescuer and dog look for victims in the debris of the damaged Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station, August 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 17, 2009, damage is seen in the generator hall at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant in southern Siberia. (AP Photo/ Rossiiskaya Gazeta Newspaper) #

Relatives of victims in the accident at Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station read information at the Siberian village of Cheryomushki, August 19, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu explains the nature of the accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station in Cheryomushky on August 19, 2009. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

Medical personnel comfort a relative of a victim of the accident at Sayano-Shushenskaya dam on August 19, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

People grieve as they attend funeral for victims of an accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya power station, in a settlement of Cheryomushki, August 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

Pallbearers carry the coffin of a man who died in the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power dam accident at a funeral in Cheryomushky on August 20, 2009. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

Damaged equipment is seen at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant in southern Siberia on Monday, Aug. 17, 2009. (AP Photo/ Rossiiskaya Gazeta Newspaper) #

Buildings sit on the bank of the oil-polluted waters of the Yenisei River, downstream from the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power dam in Cheryomushky on August 20, 2009. Oil from the dam's turbines was released into the water as a result of the accident. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

A boat motors through oil-slicked water in the Yenisei River, downstream from the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam on August 20, 2009. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

Workers collect an oil spill in the Yenisei River, which occurred after the accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam, near the settlement of Mayna, August 19, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

Workers contain an oil spill in the Yenisei River, near the settlement of Mayna, Russia on August 19, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits the accident site at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station in Cheryomushky on August 21, 2009. At right is Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu. (ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images) #

In this photo taken Friday, Aug. 21, 2009 rescuers work at the damaged Sayano-Shushenskaya dam. (AP Photo) #

The Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power dam is seen from a helicopter in Cheryomushky on August 20, 2009. The missing roof of the damaged generator hall is visible at top center. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

The damaged and flooded generator hall of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station on August 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

A general view of the damaged generator hall of Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station, seen on August 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

Russian emergency workers at the scene of an accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station in Cheryomushky on August 19, 2009. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

Russian first responders work the scene of an accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station in Cheryomushky on August 19, 2009. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

A general view shows the damaged Sayano-Shushenskaya dam hydroelectric power station and Yenisei River, near Cheryomushki, August 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

Rescuers work in the debris of the damaged Sayano-Shushenskaya dam, August 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

Russian workers at the damaged Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power plant on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. Plans are in place to disassemble and replace the three destroyed turbines, and to repair the remaining seven. (AP Photo/Vitaly Bezrukikh) #

A general view of the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam and hydroelectric plant in southern Siberia, seen on Friday, Aug. 21, 2009. (AP Photo) #

 
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