15 Sep 2009 15:05

Watchdog to sum up results of Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP disaster inquiry Sept 17

MOSCOW. Sept 15 (Interfax) - A commission set up by state technical standards oversight body Rostekhnadzor, to investigate the causes of last month's disaster at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power plant, will sum the results of the inquiry up on September 17 and not on September 15, as planned, Rostekhnadzor chief Nikolai Kutin told reporters.

Kutin said some of the paperwork still needed to be finalized.

Kutin said yesterday that Rostekhnazdor now had a full picture of the causes of the disaster, which he described as technological in nature.

Kutin said the accident was caused by operational shortcomings and the failure of safety mechanisms to activate. "Automatic systems were not functioning and were not controlling the plant," he said.

The second unit was only modernized in March this year, he said.

The investigation found that the second unit did not have back-up power systems. "It's unclear why they were not in the designs," Kutin said.

The commission in charge of the investigation will recommend that new designs are carried out that are in keeping with the installation's status.

Rostekhnadzor will also give recommendations for new hydro-plants that are under construction and existing ones.

Investigators did consider a terrorist act, but no evidence was found and this was dismissed as early as the second day of the inquiry. They also considered the hydraulic impact theory, but again, this could not be substantiated because no signs of hydraulic impact were found.

Rostekhnadzor planned to inspect RusHydro , the hydrogenerating company that runs the plant, after September 1, but this inspection began earlier, on August 17, Kutin said.

He said it would cost more than 40 billion rubles to restore and re-design the Sayano-Shushenskaya plant, but that these costs would be recouped swiftly in the context of RusHydro's operations.

"The restoration will cost much ore than 40 billion rubles, but I can't forecast a more precise figure," Kutin said.

The commission was supposed to sum its work up, document its findings and issue its recommendations on September 15.