Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Massive accident at RusHydro

A terrible industrial accident, costing perhaps 70 lives, has disabled the largest hydroelectric plant in Russia. Astoundingly, two survivors have been rescued. An explosion in the turbine space breached the structure and the resulting flooding combined with the damage from the explosion to lay waste to the facility:
Federal investigators said an explosion destroyed walls and the ceiling in an engine room where turbines are located and caused the room to flood. One of the plant's 10 turbines was destroyed, two were partly destroyed while three others were damaged, officials said.
This goes beyond the material and human losses, however. (*not* to downplay the deaths, please)

The Sayano-Shushenskaya plant is the primary electricity provider for the region *and* is the source-by-design for the four Aluminum smelters run by Rusal, the world's largest Aluminum producer. Losing the RusHydro power source means those smelters (which took 70% of the hydro plant's enormous output) those smelters are operating on borrowed power... and time. There is simply no way that reserve power can be kept on for very much longer, and it is going to be a long time:
RusHydro said replacing the damaged equipment at the plant may take up to two years but the undamaged turbines could be put back into operation in as soon as a month.

(Russia's Emergency Situations Minister Sergei) Shoigu said the repairs would be difficult.

"We're probably talking about years rather than months to restore three of the 10 turbines," he said on state-run television.
Given that the primary metals markets are all headed toward a turn up as the manufacturing economies of the world pull out of recession, this is going to play hob with supplies.

Expect the price-point to reflect this.

No comments: