MOSCOW, July 15 (Itar-Tass) - The Sayanogorsk City Court began the preliminary hearings in the criminal case over the disaster at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant, spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass on Monday.
In his words, the Main Investigation Department of the Russian Investigative Committee has finalized the investigation of the criminal case over the disaster, which broke out at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant in August 2009.
Director of the Neporozhny Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant, which a subsidiary of the RusHydro joint stock company, Nikolai Nevolko, chief engineer of the hydropower plant Andrei Mitrofanov, his deputies Yevgeny Shervarli and Gennady Nikitenko, as well as workers of the equipment monitoring service at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant Alexander Matviyenko, Vladimir Beloborodov and Alexander Klyukach are accused of violation of the safety rules in the works that entailed the death of more than two people and the infliction of a large damage.
The detectives found that several workers of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant that were in charge of a safe operation of the hydro-technical equipment at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant permitted the second hydropower unit to operate in a dissatisfactory vibration state for a long period of time through negligence. The workers of the hydropower plant showed negligence and did not take any measures to eliminate a technical malfunction, particularly during a scheduled repairs, which was done in January-March 2009.
As a result, on August 17, 2009, with the amplitude of vibration of a turbine bearing skyrocketed to 840 microns with the maximum permissible level of 160 microns, the cover of the turbine was torn off that triggered the flood of the engine hall, the destruction and damage of facilities, technical devices and technological equipment of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant and the death of 75 people from the staff of the hydropower plant and subcontracting organizations.
Markin recalled that the man-made disaster at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant resulted in the death of 75 people and has no equals in domestic and world hydropower industry. “In this respect, the detectives had a task to deal with the operating process of the technological equipment at the hydropower plant, study a large amount of technical and design documentation, assess whether the actions of the staff were correct in the work with the equipment,” Markin said.
He noted that a large number of specialists from all Russia were involved in a thorough investigation of the reasons for the tragedy. “All results of the expertises conducted over the reasons for the hydro disaster taken as the versions have been checked thoroughly during the investigation. Over 300 witnesses were interrogated and 234 expertises were carried out over the criminal case, including forensic, genetic, technical, physicometallurgical, blast technical and seismological expertises,” Markin noted.
He noted that the detectives scheduled several expertises to rule out the versions of terrorist act and earthquake. After sufficient investigating materials were gathered, complex technical criminalistic and financial economic expertises were announced as well.
Markin also noted that “over a large amount of materials, more than 850 pieces of material evidence were attached to the criminal case, the expertises last for a year, upon the results of which a mathematical model of development of the hydro disaster was made.”
To avert similar incidents the detectives instructed RusHydro to eliminate the reasons and conditions that caused the disaster. As a result the premises of the attendant personnel were moved higher than the level of flooding, the hydropower station was equipped additionally with life jackets and the pointers for evacuation. Meanwhile, the tests were made over the state of technical facilities at 22 hydropower stations, the service life of which exceeded 25 years, Markin said.
He added that this criminal case consisted of 2,029 volumes. “The detectives have gathered the evidence that director of the hydropower station Nevolko, chief engineer Mitrofanov, his deputies Nikitenko and Shervarli, as well as the workers of the equipment monitoring service, rudely violating the safety rules, permitted the operation of the second hydropower unit in a dissatisfactory vibration state for a long time. They did not take the measures to eliminate the malfunction, particularly during a scheduled repairs at the beginning of 2009, that finally resulted in the hydro disaster,” Markin underlined.