On a working visit to St Petersburg, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a video conference with officials at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station to celebrate the restoration of power unit No. 3 after a recent accident


“Tests on one more turbine are starting today. This turbine will become operational by the end of this year, producing an additional 640 MW of power for Siberia, which will greatly improve energy security in Altai, Kuzbass, Khakasia and the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Overall, the first stage of Sayano-Shushenskaya’s restoration has been completed.”


Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon!

First of all, I would like to congratulate everyone who is now at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station and all energy workers, whether they are working or off duty, on their professional holiday. Today is Energy Workers' Day.

On this occasion, I would like to express my appreciation of your work. This year, several new power-generating units with an aggregate capacity of 3,000 MW were commissioned, and I would like to congratulate you in that regard. These new facilities include the second power-generating unit at the Rostov nuclear power station, the gas turbine at the Shatura thermal power station, and the Noyabrsk steam gas power station currently underway. Over 2,700 km of transmission lines and some 13,700 km of power grids have been laid. We are aware of the need to modernise and expand the national grid. At the same time, we have to admit that our power systems are overdeveloped in some regions and underdeveloped in others. It's commendable that the construction of new facilities has been expedited in these latter reigons.

This year, we embarked on the construction of the Nizhne-Bureiskaya hydroelectic power station, which I recently toured with some of you. This group of power stations on the Bureya River will allow us to resolve the problem of power shortages in the Amur Region and its neighbouring regions for dozens of years to come, which is of critical importance to our plans for Russia's Far East. We will also need to carry out our plans for the new Boguchany hydroelectric power station, the first stage of which must be launched within a year.

Energy companies continue to modernise their facilities. RusHydro alone will allot some 60 billion roubles for these purposes within the next three years. The head of RusHydro is here, and I would like him to report back on this issue today.

We are currently online with the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station. As you know, we pay special attention to this power station. Its three new power units already produce about 2 GW of electricity in total. Tests on one more turbine are starting today. This turbine will become operational by the end of this year, producing an additional 640 MW of power for Siberia, which will greatly improve energy security in Altai, Kuzbass, Khakasia and the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Overall, the first stage of Sayano-Shushenskaya's restoration has been completed. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the specialists involved in this project, including the workers, engineers, and scientists who made it possible.

In addition, the first stage of the station's floodgate has been constructed this year. This facility will be completed by next October and will allow us to improve the safety of our technical facilities down the Yenisei River, as well as minimise the risk of damage as a result of seasonal flooding. Incidentally, we have already partially resolved this problem through the projects carried out thus far.

In 2009 and 2010, the federal government allocated 4.3 billion roubles to the construction of the station's riverbank floodgate. We also made a decision to modernise the Maynskaya hydroelectric power plant, which serves as a regulator for the Sayano-Shushenskaya station, counterbalancing water currents on the Yenisei. This provides additional guarantees against flooding in the adjacent territories. The estimated cost of the project is 8.2 billion roubles.

Now I'd like to say a few words about the future of the Sayano-Shushenskaya power station. Over the next four years, we'll need to replace its 10 power units with more efficient and safer units of the same capacity. They will be supplied by the Russian-based Power Machines Company. The first unit will soon be delivered. It will be assembled and installed at the power station in early 2011 and brought into operation later in the year.

The modernisation and renovation of the power station's facilities is due for completion by 2015. All units must become fully operational by that time. Today I'd like to hear from you on how you plan to organise that work, including the production and delivery of equipment, which is quite a challenge given its size and weight. We remember how such deliveries were previously made, and clearly, this time we need to expand the road network to ensure a trouble-free execution.

I raised this issue with the governor. I'd like you, Mr Zimin (head of the government of the Republic of Khakasia), to report back on the progress made on preparations for delivery – these preparations have been started, to my knowledge. If there are any problems, please tell us what we need to do in order to ensure that everything is handled properly and in a timely manner.

The funds set aside for the station’s modernisation are estimated at 37 billion roubles.

In addition to its restoration, however, we need to keep in mind everyday social issues. I know that RusHydro has assumed all costs related to building the infrastructure of the village of Cheryomushki, where most station employees reside. About 250 million roubles have been allocated to this purpose this year.

The village school has been renovated and fitted out with state-of-the-art equipment, and the premises of the Siberian State University have been renovated as well. The sports centre in the village has been rebuilt, and employees of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station can now use it for free. Incidentally, I would like to request that Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, since he is currently here, visit and inspect these facilities to see how they really work.

I ask you all to keep devoting the same level of attention to these issues. We need to create as comfortable an environment as possible for the people who live and work there.

Let’s get to work. Please, Mr Sechin (addressing Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin), you have the floor.

Igor Sechin: Good afternoon, Mr Putin.

In accordance with your instructions and the approved schedule of relief works at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station, today power unit No. 3 is ready to be plugged into the national grid. We will soon begin its load test, followed by supervised operation, and finally commercial operation.

This is already the fourth power unit to be restored at the station since the August accident.

Apart from a new generator and repaired hydro turbines, this power unit has received a cutting-edge automatic control system jointly designed by Russia’s Power Machines Company and the Finnish company, Metso.

The system enables safer and more stable control of the power unit, including automatic shutdown in case of a deviation from set parameters. The system also collects and analyses data from a large number of control points that monitor the unit’s status, including vibration control.

In the future, all of Sayano-Shushenskaya’s new units will have this system. As you said, this power unit will increase the station’s capacity by 640 MW, thus creating additional reserves in Siberia’s integrated energy system. This is especially important now, in autumn and winter – it’s minus 33 degrees here today, Mr Putin – to avoid icing at the open spillway. The commissioning of the first stage of the onshore spillway and the supervised operation of power unit No. 3 – it’s No. 3 but already the fourth to be restored at the station – will help preclude icing completely. So, we will be able to avert the problems that we faced last winter.

Vladimir Putin: The situation was quite grim at the beginning of last winter. Do you remember, Mr Sechin?

Igor Sechin: Yes, that’s true. We remember it clearly, and there were different ways to address this issue. This year we will avoid it because there will be no icing. This is one of the positive outcomes of our work in addition to the commissioning of the new power unit. As you said, the restored power units have produced 10 billion kWh this year. That is a wonderful accomplishment for the station and for the country’s power system. It is equivalent to about half of the station’s output before the accident and 1% of Russia’s overall power production.

It is worth mentioning that Russia on the whole will produce about 980 billion kWh this year, which is more than last year and approaches the pre-crisis level. In 2008, this country produced about 1 trillion kWh.

Mr Putin, our plans for next year include completing the second stage of the onshore spillway, laying 44 km of road between Sayanogorsk and the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station, and constructing a transfer hub at the Mainskaya hydroelectric power station to deliver large-scale equipment for three power units. We are already commissioning works at power unit No. 1, which will be the first of the new power units to be delivered. We will also lay the groundwork for the installation of the other two units next year.

You asked about equipment delivery. The delivery of hydro turbine water wheels has been scheduled, and the wheels are now being prepared for transport. They will be delivered from the Power Machines plant on the Sverdlov Embankment in St Petersburg through the Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric power station’s ship lift to a berth in the Mainskaya hydroelectric power station’s afterbay. The rotor wheels for the hydraulic turbines will be delivered to the assembly site of the Sayano-Shushenskaya power station by “road train” – three trailers at a time. Experts have inspected the motorway connecting the Maina and Sayano-Shushenskaya power stations and conclude that there are no current obstacles preventing the wheels from being transported on this motorway.

As you said, by the end of 2014 we will have restored and replaced a total of 10 units, including the repaired units that are temporarily being used. The cost of the contract is 11.7 billion roubles. We have already signed an agreement with the company Power Machines, whose facilities will be also charged with workload through this contract. The service life of the new hydraulic units will be extended to 40 years, and their maximum energy conversion efficiency will reach 96.6%. All turbines will be equipped with sensors, gauges and remote diagnostics systems. In addition, the dam and other facilities will be equipped with a monitoring system that operates according to an expanded series of parameters.

During reconstruction, all hydraulic units will be removed from the flooded area, and turbine housing will be separated from the outbuilding. The power distribution system, which is currently operating on open mode, will also be reconstructed and reset so as to function on closed mode as well. As you said, this project will require some 37 billion roubles.

As you said in your remarks today, the government is doing its best to support those affected by the disaster. Mr Zimin, Head of the Republic, will tell us in greater detail about the measures being taken. For my part, I’d simply like to note that RusHydro opened a public reception office where people are applying to resolve current issues. In addition to this, those affected by the accident and their families have been given the opportunity to stay at resorts and sanatoriums at discounted prices for the next five years.

We have toured several facilities today and plan to visit more in the future – notably including a sports complex. They have also constructed an excellent school here. It’s essentially the same School No. 2., but it’s been restored, remodeled, and reequipped. The children are already studying, as we saw today, and RusHydro has agreed to continue its supervision.

Mr Prime Minister, I would also like to congratulate energy workers – veteran workers in particular – and wish them health, wellbeing and, most importantly, trouble-free and safe work.

Mr Prime Minister, unit No.. 3 has undergone all the necessary testing and is operating at idle speed. It is fully ready to connect to the national grid. May I plug it in to start the tests in service mode?

Vladimir Putin: Please do. Give the energy workers something to cheer for on their professional holiday. Go ahead.

Igor Sechin: I would like to congratulate everyone again. Mr Dod (Chairman of RusHydro’s Board of Directors), please give the command.

Yevgeny Dod: Attention, station… Mr Sechin is ready to plug in the unit.

Remark: Charging the unit…

Igor Sechin: Mr Prime Minister, the unit has been plugged in and is being charged. After the first test run, it will be brought into operation.

Vladimir Putin: Excellent, well done! Congratulations!

Mr Zimin, what progress has been made on road infrastructure development?

Viktor Zimin: Mr Prime Minister, first of all, I would like to thank the government and you personally for helping us to address the challenges faced by our republic – not only the need to construct the motorway and improve public services in the village of Cheryomushki but also issues that concern the entire republic.

Cost estimates for the motorway project have been prepared and approved – we have a statement drafted under expert evaluation. But even before receiving it, we started inspecting bridges in order to begin dismantling older structures in January.

We appreciate your decision to sign a resolution allocating 500 million roubles to our republic, which we expect to receive this week. The Ministry of Finance has confirmed this tranche.

Regarding the social problems facing this village, I can honestly say that the short-term directives that you gave me to restore the power station have been fulfilled. I cannot say that all of them have been completed to the letter since the work is still underway through a long-term joint programme of Khakasia’s government and our partner, RusHydro. We have entered into a long-term cooperation agreement and introduced several more facilities into our arrangements. For example, in 2011 we will finance the construction of an indoor ice arena for children in Cheryomushki on a 50/50 basis.

We will also continue to renovate the facilities at the local hospital. As you mentioned, this year we used 250 million roubles provided by the federal government to renovate the local school, which Mr Sechin and I inspected today. This is really one of the best-equipped schools in Russia. It has cadet and gymnasium classes. We greatly appreciate your help, and we understand that this is a long-term programme over 18 years. We are committed to carrying it through so that every child or teenager affected by this tragedy can receive a good education.

Mr Prime Minister, we would sincerely like to thank you for the support you give us every day. This concludes my report.

Vladimir Putin: Good. Thank you. Mr Dod, please.

Yevgeny Dod: Good afternoon, Mr Prime Minister. As you said, over the next three years we will need to invest some 60 billion roubles in the programme upgrading and repairing the facilities in question, not including major site development works. This programme was approved by the government and is well underway already.

Our company has drawn up a comprehensive programme for reconstructing all of our facilities. Under this programme, we plan to bring them to a nearly ideal level by 2020. Investment in the programme will amount to over 350 billion roubles, which will allow us to take reliability, safety and quality standards to a new level at all of our power stations. These will be the best stations in the world, I promise you. Everything is being done on schedule. Thank you for your support.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you. Thank you very much. Mr Kutyin (Head of the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Supervision), good afternoon.

Nikolai Kutyin: Good afternoon.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Kutyin, how does your service assess the technical condition, at particular vibration levels, of new units being put into operation?

Nikolai Kutyin: The technical state of the power units is monitored by new systems, installed and launched by their manufacturer and tested on the first three units of the Sayano-Shushenskaya power station. The fourth unit, commissioned today – unit No. 3 – is equipped with the new system, which we will install on all new units in the future. It meets the most advanced safety standards. The supervision service can report back that RusHydro has fulfilled all your instructions regarding the units’ safety.

Vladimir Putin: You and I remember that on paper the situation at the Syano-Shushenskaya station appeared pretty good. However, specialists and experts have pointed to safety threats since the station became operational in Soviet times. In their opinion, safety risks would inevitably multiply as the station’s power generation increased, which eventually resulted in this tragedy. Have all such shortcomings been eliminated in your current enterprise?

Nikolai Kutyin: The safety declaration for hydropower facilities and the plan for the project prepared by Power Machines introduced new operational mechanisms in transition modes, during which power generating units can become unstable. The duration of these modes has been reduced. The use of new control and monitoring systems will allow us to handle these instances. Unfortunately, these issues were not addressed properly before, which led to the tragedy. The current plan compensates for the shortcomings of the original plan that was developed in the 1960s.

Vladimir Putin: So you conducted an expert evaluation, I assume?

Nikolai Kutyin: Yes. In full.

Vladimir Putin: And the tests of operational units show that these shortcomings have been eliminated?

Nikolai Kutyin: We are currently beginning tests on the power unit, which has been fully equipped with the new control and monitoring system. We will receive final data on the performance of this system in a week, once the unit becomes fully operational.

Vladimir Putin: Good. Please keep it under constant control.

Nikolai Kutyin: I will.

Vladimir Putin: In closing, I would again like to congratulate all energy workers – veteran workers in particular – on their professional holiday. I wish you health and further success, and I would like to thank you for your efforts and excellent performance in the passing year. I wish you all the best. Thank you.

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