Siberian explosion threatens power supplies to Russian steel and aluminium producers

A massive explosion at a power station in Siberia today has killed eight workers and threatened steel Russian production. A further 64 people are missing following the blast. The damage to the Sanyo-Shushenka power station will require millions of pounds worth of emergency building work to repair and has hit steel and aluminium producers in Russia.

Water burst into a turbine hall this morning at the hydro power station in the Siberian region of Khakassia, which is almost 2,000 miles east of Moscow. RusHydro said a faulty turbine at the Sayano-Shushinskaya dam in southern Siberia built in 1978 was likely to blame.

A spokesman for RusHydro, the hydroelectric power company that owns the Sayano-Shushenskaya station, said production at the plant had been stopped as a result of the accident.

This has lead to limited power available in use was limited in the Kemerovo, Altai and Khakassia regions, which has affected steel plants and coal mines operated by Evraz, the Siberian power distributor.

It has also hit Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium producer, whose chief executive and controlling shareholder is Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska met ministers to discuss possible output cuts and options for backup power supplies. Several towns in the area have been left powerless.

Deripaska told Bloomberg Rusal found alternative supplies for its four nearby smelters and was operating at “normal levels” but added “electricity supply remains tight.” He added the steelmaker was working to minimize the impact on production.