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Rock Dynamics and Applications – State of the Art – Zhao & Li (eds

© 2013 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 978-1-138-00056-8

The accident development at Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric
power station in Russia
A.D. Sashourin
Mining Institute of Urals Division of Russian Academy of Science, Yekaterinburg, Russia

ABSTRACT: The paper deals with a new version of the accident at the SayanoShushenskaya HPP, which is the source of the accident current geodynamic movements in
hierarchical block rock mass at the base of the dam and station infrastructure. The mechanism of formation of fatigue cracks in steel studs cover hydraulic unit. A set of studies, which
will reveal the nature of the accident, are carried out to evaluate the possibility of local recurrence of accidents and loss of stability of the dam.



The accident at Russia’s largest Sajano-Shushenskaja hydroelectric power station which
occurred August 17, 2009, attracted the attention of experts from different fields of scientific
and technological activities. Two state-level commissions such as RTN and the State Duma
have dedicated their work to identify the causes of the accident, involving investigations of
dozens of prominent scientists and specialists. The circumstances and causes of the accident
have been widely discussed in all media.
But two years after the accident, when restoration work is at full pelt and two hydroelectric
turbines were again in operation, the assessment of the accident, made by the Minister of
Energy S.I. Shmatko immediately after the events happened, “This is the largest and most
unexplained accident, which has been the only one in the world. We cannot understand its
nature”, is hardly changed. Administrative and organizational disruptions in the station work,
which were revealed by the commissions, are not discussed in this work because they do not
reveal the true causes of the accident. The well-known hydrobuilder A.E. Dolginin, whose
name is related to the development of hydropower potential of the Angara and Yenisei, said
about this, “... we cannot seriously believe that the accident occurred because of a few careless operatives” (Dolginin 2010).
The objective of this work is to try to answer the questions that have not lighted in the
materials of the accident investigation: Is it possible to repeat the local accident on one of the
hydroelectric units? Is it possible for violation of a water main or other important structural
component of the station? What is the possibility of violation of the stability of the dam?
In the last decades, dozens of major accidents and disasters occurred in various fields of
economic activities with numerous human victims and enormous economic loss. At first
glance, all these events in different areas seem unconnected. In fact, as it can be seen from
more than 30-year research practices of the Ural School of Geomechanics, they all share a
common source of failure—the modern geodynamic movements.

The Sajano-Shushenskaja hydroelectric power station is located in the incomplete formation of mountains Dzhebashsko-Dzhoyskiy tectonic unit, which is an anticline created by
the intrusion of granite, broken through to the surface through the thickness of the solid

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Thus. which. By separating violations coinciding with the riverbeds of Charles and Talovka. Schematic geological map of waterworks Sajano-Shushenskaja hydroelectric power station (Bryzgalov 1999).I. Of course. At the left junction dam it reaches 250 meters. Unevenness of the two-layer base of the dam. 7—tectonic zones. and only responds to the dynamics of technological changes such as seasonal fluctuations in the level of the reservoir. In accordance with modern notions of the rock mass as a medium with hierarchical block structure. 8—the angle of rocks. tectonic blocks moved in the southeastern direction for hundreds of meters. we assume that the geological environment at the base of the dam is in a static state. 4—borders of Dzhoyskoy intrusion. complicated by a zone of contact metamorphism. has been associated with breakthrough intrusion of granite. regretted in his work (Bryzgalov 1999). also number in hundreds of meters. the contact zone of slate thickness with granites. 9—the contour of the dam. 6—undivided area of contact metamorphism. To identify the full structural model of the rock mass of the site and deformation processes taking place in this model we require special research. 2). and in the longitudinal section—in the direction downstream of the dam forming angles of about 45° and 50°. Figure 1 shows that the thickness of the slates was subjected to an active tectonic structure. that these issues have not been paid attention in creation and further operation of hydroelectric station. One of the borders of these blocks between paraslates of Karymovskoy thickness and ortoslates forming a fault zone intersects diagonally the dam near the left junction (Fig. 5—zones of contact metamorphism: A—heavy. V. “Despite the thirty year period since the beginning of target study of the area for the construction of the power plant. 1) (Marchuk 1995).Downloaded by [Queensland University of Technology] at 07:36 12 August 2016 metamorphosed slates at about half a kilometer from the dam upstream (Fig. B—low. B—middle. and in the right it increases to 450 m. 1—paraslates of Cheremuhovskoy column. Vertical interblock advances based on the difference of ortoslates capacities in different blocks. apparently. determines the inhomogeneous deformation of the dam even if. some geological structures (fractures) and processes (crust movements) have not been studied in detail which are the main factors Figure 1. they are only one step in the existing hierarchy and on the territory of hydroelectric power must be structural defects of various ranks. 2—paraslates of Karymovskoy column. marked blocking and structural defects do not reflect the complexity of the structure of the massif. Features of its stratification cause a big difference in the capacity of slates in coast junctions of the dam. Bryzgalov. and the tectonic contacts of Cheremuhovskoy and Karymovskoy thicknesses of paraslates with ortoslates create a contrastively-defined system of structural blocks. ruled the station for a long time as CEO. Contact of granites with slates falls sharply in the cross section under the right bank. 612 . subparallel separating violations transverse riverbed of Yenisei. 3—ortoslates.

But steel caps prevent from deformations of the mines and these caps are separating hydro turbine chambers from the generator chambers.2 × 105 MPa for the mine concrete). assessment of the role of modern geodynamic movements is completely missing in the work and it is not excluded that the undamping plastic deformations. Consequently. Unfortunately. (see Fig. Western and Eastern Siberia and Yakutia.” and these processes were caused by technogenic pressures of the created reservoir and by dynamics of seasonal changes of its level. Depending on the parameters of the developing extraordinary intensively deformed state. Tetelmin (2010) in his work deeply analyzed the deformation processes of the system called “dam is—a massif of rocks. Fracture location and predictable geodynamic movements of structural blocks. keeping their round shape. steel locking pins must provide joint deformation of the metal cap and concrete chamber along with the cap from the water pressure in the chamber. So the concrete mine of hydro unit with steel locking pins should deform steel cap to give it joint final shape with cyclical deviations. represent the occurrences of current geodynamic movements. Kazakhstan. The intensely deformed state of the shift transfers in the construction of the station. Neither technical facilities. One of the elements. which perceive arising extraordinary intensively deformed state is concrete mines of hydrounits. concrete mines of the hydrounits under the action of trendy and cyclical geodynamical movements with isotropic intensively deformed state change their radius. 2008). 613 . concentrating in areas of tectonic intrusions (Sashourin 2005. the results of fundamental research made by the Ural School of Geomechanics in different parts of Urals.Downloaded by [Queensland University of Technology] at 07:36 12 August 2016 Figure 2. determining long-term stability of the territory. noted by Tetelmin. Definition of the parameters requires special experimental research. The shift occurs under the influence of trendy geodynamical motions when heredity of paleogeodynamic movements is saving and these movements formed a block system shown in Figure 1 in a fault zone that crosses the dam. 2). show that modern geodynamic movements in the area of Sayano-Shushenskaya hydrounit should be presented by trend and cyclical polyharmonical movements. and anisotropic intensively deformed state concrete mines get an elliptical shape. The connection between caps and concrete mines is performed through 80 steel locking pins placed evenly along a circular contour of the caps and mines. 3 DEVELOPMENT OF ROCK BLOCK MOVEMENT Meanwhile.” (Bryzgalov 1999). including the dam body and the construction of hydrounits of the machine building. And now tenfold difference in modules of elasticity starts to take place in the mechanism of their joint deformation (2 × 105 MPa for cap’s steel and 0. nor observations for geodynamic processes were included in the project. Only the installation of equipment in the dam body was assumed.

b—a scheme of fatigue fissure extension. certainly creates a vibration character of change of the shearing forces on the background of the main frequency.5 hours. 3a). Diagram of fatigue destructions of the locking pins (% of section) and the zone of cyclical shear forces of the locking pins from cyclical short-period geodynamic movements (±ΔRu). ų created by the maximum amplitude. they are meant to operate on a burst. Figure 4. ų. Force interaction between them is carried only by the locking pins.e. The mechanism of fatigue destruction of locking pins. Structurally. shear stress acts on the rod with σc∂ . a—scheme of joint deformation of the mine and cap. we can see from Figure 3b that during the deformation of the “steel cap—concrete mine” for an amount ΔRT ± ΔR . T ± σc∂ . This provides about 10. ΔRm—joint deformation of the mine and it’s cap from trend movements. They are changing slowly over time in accordance with the laws of development of trendy geodynamical motions. u¸—cyclical shifting stresses. and it is represented schematically in Figure 3b. T—trendy shifting stresses. which create a shear force. i. average about one hour. with a duration from 30–40 minutes to 1–1.000 cycles of stressing pins with shear force per year. 614 . it meets a tenfold resistance of the steel cover (Fig.Downloaded by [Queensland University of Technology] at 07:36 12 August 2016 When concrete mine of hydro unit is deforming under the influence of modern geodynamic movements. Cyclical movements have polyharmonical character. The rest range of frequencies that fills the whole time scale. occur in cycles. There are two components in the shear efforts. but their amplitudes will be located in the range of σc∂ . The second component has cyclical character due to the cyclical short-period geodynamic movements. The maximum Figure 3. The first is caused by trendy deformations of mine and cap ΔRT. ΔRu¸—cyclical deformation (vibration) of short-period cyclical movements. σc∂ . σc . The maximum amplitudes as known from the available data about the parameters of cyclical movements. and the shear stresses caused by these motions in the locking pins are in the range of σc∂ . ∏. but their whole range of oscillations is in the range of the amplitude ΔRT. Thus.

the dynamic release of the disturbed mass can instantly block an outlet channel and stop the flow of water. Unfortunately. no enough attention was given to this phenomenon in the published materials of the investigation. the turbine which has a generator with a kinetic energy. but community of its consequences is important. Explosive destruction of concrete column which was recorded by surveillance camera prompted that the development was not an act of terrorism. lift and “flight” of the hydro unit. continues rotating in the still water and turns into a propeller. “boom” may be evidence of the dynamic nature of the destruction of concrete in the mine hydroturbine. which occurred as a rock burst. The nature of this “boom” did not find any explanation in the materials of the investigation. the rod is exposed by cyclical force ±σ with the constant trendy shift σc∂ . respectively. A similar dynamic destruction of the concrete occurred at the column number 11 in the aquapark “Transvaal” in Moscow. thus water line was blocked. The total sum of the remaining area of locking pins. and these locking pins were holding cap. the generator compartment was flooded relatively long in time. marked by eyewitnesses of the accident. It was possible to check version of the dynamic fracture of concrete in the hydro unit mine number 2 at the investigation stage of the nature of concrete destruction. about 65 percent. Although concrete is not directly related to bump hazardous materials.Downloaded by [Queensland University of Technology] at 07:36 12 August 2016 value of rod’s σc∂ . T + σc∂ . 4 STRUCTURE DAMAGE AND FAILURE Thus. will be achieved in a period when ΔR matches the ΔRT. constructed according to the investigation act of RTN commission for hydro unit number 2. But sudden nature of the “final blast” of all locking pins in the accident remains unclear. but some variations of the directions in these sectors during the period of accumulation of fatigue destructions had occurred. the reason for destruction of the locking pins. Hydroelectric power. which amounts according to different estimates. Location of rock’s hit (in the mine concrete or in the surrounding rocks) in this case does not matter. at the Nurek hydroelectric power station in 1983 when 55 of 72 locking pins were destroyed. Meanwhile. Figure 4 shows the actual diagram of fatigue destructions of each rod cross-section in percentage to its area of the cross section. For example. and the minimum will be achieved when ΔRT and ΔR are directed in different directions. T . In both cases. is clear. In the first case. but the conditions of dynamic destruction can arise as a result of high stress concentration in the concrete of mine unit with the subsequent short period increases of stresses outreaching the speed of rheological properties of the concrete. acted on the accidental hydro unit. Good correlation between the theoretical cyclical shifting zones with the actual diagram of fatigue destructions of the locking pins allows to conclude that the actual stress state of mine hydro unit number 2 is close to uniaxial. clears the reason for the sudden blast of all remaining locking pins. in general. This nature is similar to shocks in the rocks which are widely distributed in the mining practices. was considered in as the primary reason of the accident (Pak & Dolgonosov 2011). which stood at the moment of the accident about 400 megawatts. Anisotropy is clearly seen in the distribution of fatigue destructions. In this figure theoretical zones of cyclical shear forces of the locking pins under uniaxial forcing of the system called “mine-cap” are also rebuilt in the direction of sectors with the numbers of pins 21-41 and 61-1. 615 . The remaining 17 pins were not broken. Zones with high specific fatigue destruction and zones without fatigue destructions determine the directions maximum and minimum stresses and strains. 5 OBSERVATION AND DISCUSSION Dynamic fracture of rocks at the base of hydro unit. provided the multiple reserve separation durability. “Boom” in the sudden nature of the destruction of the locking pins could make a contribution and this “boom” was prior to breakout of water. There are two possibilities. Consequently.

recovery and further plant operation does not exclude recurrence of similar local accidents at hydro units and waterways. First. cyclical amplitudes of horizontal and vertical movements and deformations. Materials given in the article show that the source of the accident are the structural features of the rock mass in the area of HPS. 3.Downloaded by [Queensland University of Technology] at 07:36 12 August 2016 The second variant was considered above (Pak & Dolgonosov 2011). Complex of risk evaluation studies of emergency deformation processes on the station should include: − research of structural-tectonic model of the rock mass in the area of the station. possible options for further developments remain unanswered. Nature. 2009. − dynamic destruction of the drain system concrete structure as a form of rock hit with instant capping of the drain channel and stop of the waterway. − determination of parameters of modern geodynamic movements: trendy movements for the period of 30–40 years by executing retrospective monitoring. the dam can not be guaranteed from the development of destructive deformations. final blast of the remaining section of the locking pins with the release of the hydrounit in the powerhouse. 2009. which occurred on August 17. Thus. − the development of actions to reduce the risk of accidental deformation processes in the station. from which predictive estimation can be made on possible development and actions can be taken to reduce the risk of catastrophic events. Official investigations and extensive public discussions did not reveal the real sources and causes of the accident at the GA-2 Sajano-Shushenskaja power plant on August 17. That’s how schematically one of the largest accidents of our time looks like. 4. Without carrying out complex research. the accident is one of the indicators that show that the actual working conditions of the station and deformation processes occurring on the station differ significantly from project. trendy and cyclical movements stress increments. In the authors’ opinion. Ensuring further safe operation of the plant and reducing social tensions among the population potentially threatened by the Yenisei basin requires specific complex researches. Second. the instant watershed “sealing” of the destroyed rock mass sent water column energy conduit to “stem” of the hydro unit turbine hall. 6 CONCLUSION 1. − predictive estimates of impact changes of the stress-strain state at the station. 616 ZHAORO-BOOK. − transition of turbine into the state of the propeller in the still water. 2.indb 616 4/16/2013 9:01:26 AM . reasons and source of the accident on the hydro unit No 2 allow to make two main conclusions. − occurrence of cyclical shear stresses and fatigue fissures in the hydro unit cap fixing the locking pins. At the same time. such an accident with particular specific variations is possible in the subsequent station operation at any of the ten hydro units or any of their waterways. − cameral construction works of fields of stress-strain state of the rocks at the station: trendy horizontal and vertical movements and deformations. and also violations of the dam stability with the appearance of massive emergency for cities and villages located in the lower basin of the Yenisei HPS. finally locks the chain of events which resulted in the accident: − extraordinary cyclical deformation of the hydro unit concrete mine. trendy and cyclical geodynamic movements occurring in the massive and their interaction with technogenic system of hydropower plant. raising reasonable fears and anxiety among population living near the dam. Without determination of the sources and causes of the accident. clarifying the reason for the accident. under the influence of modern geodynamic movements. short period cyclical movements. the “boom” which is a dynamic destruction of the hydroturbine concrete mine.

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