Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP Construction

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The Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP 

project was a part of Byreya Hydro-
power Complex project. Research 
on the hydropower potential of the 
Bureya River was commenced as 
early as 1932 when “Hydroproject” 
institute carried out reconnaissance 
surveys of the river (an interesting 
fact is that following the start 
of plant construction works an 
exploratory adit of the 1930s was 
found at the HPP site). In 1959 
a Bureya HPP cascade scheme 
was developed, which for the 



time ever included the Nizhne-
Bureyskaya HPP (identi


 ed  as 

the “Doldykanskaya HPP” in the 
scheme). The site for the Nizhne-
Bureyskaya HPP was chosen in 

The design of the Nizhne-Bu-

rey skaya HPP as a constituent 
part of the Byreya Hydropower 
Complex was developed by “Len-
hydroproject” institute in 1985, un-
derwent all required examinations 
and was approved in 1986. The 
plant construction was scheduled 
for the fall-off in Bureyskaya HPP 
construction works. Project briefs 
for Bureyskaya and Nizhne-Bu-
reyskaya HPPs were merged into 

Filling the pit of Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP main structures

New Energy

of the Far East

The Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP is being erected on the Bureya River in the Amur River 

region. The plant is located downstream the powerful Byreyskaya HPP and acts as 

its counter-regulator, leveling irregular water discharges.

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one in 1995 and again separated 
in 2003. Plant construction was not 
commenced in that period, only 
some measures were undertaken 
to relocate population from the 



ood zone (Bureyskaya HPP 

downstream pool and Nizhne-
Bureyskaya HPP reservoir bed). 
2007 marked the beginning of 
project re


 nement works resulting 

in signi


 cant design changes.


Three 107 MW hydro units were 
substituted with four 80 MW 
hydro units.


The right-bank earth dam was 
substituted with a concrete 


The spillway dam with bottom 
outlets was substituted with an 


 ow spillway.


A “slurry wall” was introduced 
into the channel earth dam 


Changes were made in the 
power distribution scheme: 110 
and 220 kV switchyards were 
substituted with 220 kV gas 
insulated switchgear.

Commencing plant construction 

works became possible following 
the completion of capital works on 
Bureyskaya HPP erection, which 
started operating at full capacity 
(2010 MW) in 2009 and became 
the largest power plant in the Far 
East of Russia.

On August 27, 2010, in pre-

sence of V.V. Putin, the start of 
construction of the Nizhne-Burey-
skaya HPP, the largest hydropower 
plant to be built in present-day 
Russia, was announced.

Plant Design

The Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP

rated capacity is 320 MW, 
the ave 

rage annual output is 

1.65 bln kW•h. Most HPP water-
retaining structures (with the total 
length of 745.5 m) will be built 
using a channel earth dam with 
an impervious element of “slurry 
wall” type 400 m long and 42 m 
high (max.). Dam foundation will 
be made waterproof by building 
a puddle clay “slurry wall” that will 
cross alluvial deposits up to the 
bedrock and a bedrock double-

Bureya River damming

row grout curtain. The earth dam 
and the spillway dam will be joined 
by means of a concrete transition 

The spillway dam is made 

of concrete and designed for 
discharge of water 


 ows exceeding 

the capacity of plant turbines. The 
dam length is 123 m, full height is 
47.75 m. It is equipped with 





 ow spillways with radial gates 

operated by hydraulic drives. Also, 
repair gates lifted and lowered by 
a gantry crane are to be installed. 
Max. dam capacity is 13.332 m



Flow energy dissipation will take 
place in a concrete stilling basin 
88 m long with baf


 e and end walls.

The HPP channel building 

96.5 m long and 57.7 m high (max.) 
will be located at the right bank. It 
will be connected with the spillway 
dam by means of a divider wall 73 m 
long and with the bank by means of 
a bulkhead wall 100 m long (from 
there up to the Doldykan River 
outlet the bank will be protected 
with rubblework). The HPP building 
will accommodate four 80 MW 
hydro units with Kaplan turbines 
PL30-VB-630 operating at the 
rated head of 26.1 m and vertical 
synchronous hydro generators.

The agreement for supply 

of four 80 MW hydro units for 
the Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP 
was signed between “Nizhne-
Bureyskaya HPP” (a subsidiary 

of PJSC “RusHydro”) and “Power 
Machines” in September of 2013.

In accordance with the agree-

ment terms, the liabilities of “Power
Machines” include design, manu-
facturing, supply, installation 
supe rvision and installation of four 
equipment sets of hydro units, 
each of which includes a Kaplan 
turbine incorporating an automatic 
control system, a hydro generator 
with an excitation system, as well 
as hydro unit auxiliary equipment.

Special design features of the 

equipment include ecologically 
safe design of hydro turbines: the 
impeller cavity that contains the 
blade turning mechanism is not 


 lled with oil, which eliminates the 

risk of oil leakage into water.

Two traveling cranes with 

lifting capacity of 250 t each were 
installed in the machine hall for 
mounting/dismounting of hydro 
units. The HPP building will be 
equipped with trash racks, repair 
and emergency-repair gates, 
two gantry cranes (upstream and 
downstream). The HPP building 
capacity at the rated head is 
1.380 m


/s (4×345 m


/s). Four 

power transformers to feed power 
to the gas insulated switchgear 
are to be installed downstream, at 
the machine hall wall.

A non-over


 ow concrete dam 

76 m long and 19.75 m high (max.)
which closes the waterfront on 

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Start of concrete works

the right bank, a mounting site 
and a plant site adjoin the HPP 
building. The plant site accom-
modates an engineering and 
manufacturing facility and 220 V 
switchgear. Electric power is to 
be transmitted over OHL 220 kV 
through the “Arkhara” (2 OHL) and 
“Raychikhinsk” substations.


Bureyskaya HPP 


in Progress

2011 marked the beginning of 

preparatory works that included 
construction of a car road 4.1 km 
long leading to the plant site and an 
overhead transmission line 6 kV, 
transshipment base expansion 
for construction infrastructure 
deployment, and site preparation 
for residential developments. The 
construction of the foundation 
pit of HPP basic structures was 
started with low-water cofferdams 
in 2011. Three car roads were 
built, a concrete batching and 
mixing plant was erected, con-
struction of the administration 
and management building and 
builders’ lodgings was in pro-
gress. In 2012 the preparatory 
works were mainly completed: the 

foundation pit cofferdams were 
built up to design dimensions, 
construction of a “slurry” wall for 
the cofferdams was commenced. 
The construction of the 
administration and management 
building, concrete facility with a 
construction technology laboratory, 
construction mechanization 
and main equipment facilities, 
220/35/6 kV “Stvor” substation, 
builders’ lodgings was completed. 
JSC “Trest Gidromontazh” 
became the prime contractor for 
the construction works.

The foundation pit for basic 

structures was dried up (con-
struction of the “slurry” wall in the 
cofferdams was completed at the 
beginning of March 2013) and 
concrete works at the spillway dam 
and right-bank non-over


 ow  dam 

were started in 2013. JSC “Power 
Machines” was engaged as the 
supplier of hydropower equipment 
(turbines and generators). In 2014 
concrete pouring for the HPP 
building was commenced.

By the end of 2015, about 90% 

of concrete had been already 
poured, hydro turbine inserts 
had been installed, channel earth 
dam construction and hydro-
mechanical equipment mounting 
works had been started.

On April 19, 2016 the Bureya 

River at the Nizhne-Bureyskaya 

HPP site was dammed. The 
previous large-river damming 
in Russia took place in 2011 
during construction of the 
Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP in 
Magadan Region. Preparation for 
the damming was started in March 
2016, when the foundation pit of 
main concrete plant structures 


 lled. Commissioning of the 


 rst hydro units of the Nizhne-

Bureyskaya HPP is scheduled for 
the end of 2016.

Social and



of Nizhne-

Bureyskaya HPP 


Implementation of the Nizhne-

Bureyskaya HPP construction 
project has positive social and 
economic effects for the Far East 
and Russia, as a whole, including:


reduction of current generation 
costs in the UPS of the East, 
complemented by eliminating 
restrictions of the Bureyskaya 
HPP and thermal generation 


possibility of transfer of nearby 
settlements from heating by 
expensive oil- and coal-



boiler-houses to heating by 
electric boiler-houses, with 
reduction of consumer charges 
for heat;


creation of vacant positions for 
buil ders who completed their 
work at the Bureyskaya HPP 
(2 000 people) and reduction 
of population migration from 
the Far East;


engaging Russian manu 


turers and contractors;


growth of tax revenues in 
budgets of all levels;


growth of the population pur-
chasing power in the Amur 
River region.
Electric power of the plant will 

be directed to the energy system of 
the Far East to supply both existing 
and prospective consumers, such 
as Vostochny Cosmodrome, trans- 
port infrastructure facilities (in par-

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Earth dam erection

ticular, the “Power of Siberia” gas 
pipeline), mining enterprises.

In addition to electric power 

production, the Nizhne-Burey-
skaya HPP is designed to opti-
mize operation of the high-
capacity Bureyskaya HPP. One 
of the important functions of the 
Bureyskaya HPP is operation in 
the irregular part of the load curve. 
For example, in the morning, 
when demand for power in the 
energy system rises sharply, 
the plant operates at a higher 
capacity and the amount of water 
discharged via hydro units sharply 
increases. At the same time, at 
night, when demand for power in 
the energy system decreases, the 
plant load and, correspondingly, 
water discharges are signi




Variations in the amount of 

discharged water cause signi-


 cant river level 


 uctuations. Pre-

venting them is the purpose of 
construction of a counter-regulator 
HPP with a relatively small water 
reservoir, where discharge ir regu-
larities are balanced. The Nizhne-
Bureyskaya HPP will be the third 
counter-regulating HPP in Russia 


 rst and the second ones are 

the Miatlinskaya and Maynskaya 
HPPs that balance discharges of 
the Chirkeyskaya and Sa 


Shushenskaya HPPs, respec-

Also, the Nizhne-Bureyskaya 

HPP will have certain 


 ood protec-

tion effect by smoothening Byreya 
water reservoir discharge peaks. 

With regard for the lessons of the 


 ood of 2013, the decision 

was made to improve the 



protection capabilities of the plant 
by introducing changes into its 
design that enable increasing 
the available storage capacity of 
the reservoir. The Nizhne-Burey-
skaya HPP reservoir will play an 
important role in prevention of 
winter under



ooding of settle-

ments, which will make it possible 
to use regulation potential of the 
Bureyskaya HPP without any 

Resettlement of the population 

from the Nizhne-Bureyskaya 
HPP reservoir 


 ood zone took 

place during Bureyskaya HPP 
construction. PJSC “RusHydro” 
allocated money for 


 ood  zone 

sanitation, deforestation and ar-
cheo logical surveys.

In Harmony 

with Nature

The Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP

project meets the highest eco-
logical standards. At the support of 
“RusHydro”, a set of compensation 
measures is undertaken that 
includes creation of “Bureysky” 
natural park, improvement of the 
living environment for animals and 
birds, transfer of rare plants from 


 ood zone.

The project of compensation 

measures is implemented within 
the framework of the quadruple 
cooperation agreement between 
the Ministry of Natural Resources 
of the Amur River region, the 
Agency for Protection, Monitoring 
and Regulation of Use of Fauna 
and Habitats of the Amur River 
region, JSC “Nizhne-Bureyskaya 
HPP” and United Nations De-
velop ment Program Project. The 
latter includes the project “Main-
streaming biodiversity con 


vation into Russia’s energy sector 
policies and operations” of the 
United Nations Development 
Program, Global Environment 
Facility (GEF) and the Ministry of 
Natural Resources and Ecology 
of the Russian Federation. The 
agreement provides for a set of 
measures on reducing Nizhne-
Bureyskaya HPP construction 
effects for the environment, 
the most important of which is 
creation of “Bureysky” Natural

A natural park was created 

in the Nizhne-Bureyskaya 

HPP impact area with the 

support of hydropower 


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Manufacturing of equipment
for the Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP

“Bureysky” Natural Park is lo-

cated in the territory of Bureysky 
and Arkharinsky districts of the 
Amur River region, in the impact 
area of the Bureya Hydropower 
Complex that includes the 
operating Bureyskaya HPP and 
Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP under 
construction. The park spans the 
territories of existing “Zhe 


din sky” and “Urochishche Irkun” 
reserves, as well as additional 
areas upstream and downstream 
the Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP re-
ser voir. The total area of the 
park is 132 thousand hectares. 
Compensation measures direc-
ted at creation of favorable con-
ditions for 


 ora and fauna in the 

reservoir area and downstream 
are undertaken in the park. In par-
ticular, they include con 

struc tion 

of a network of feeding stations for 
hoofed animals and placement of 
nest boxes for the rare Mandarin 



Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP 

construction employed a number 
of innovative solutions directed 
at reduction of construction terms 
and costs as well as quality 
improvement. For example, an 
earth dam with a conventional 
impervious element represented 
by a clay loam core (provided 
for by the plant design initially) 
was replaced with a “slurry wall” 
of clay-cement-concrete piles. 
Such a design of a large-scale 
dam impervious element is used 
in Russia for the 


 rst time and is 

one-of-a-kind in the world.

Another innovative solution 

is the numerical hydrodynamic 
model of the “Bureyskaya HPP – 
Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP – Nizh-
ne-Bureyskaya HPP down stream 
pool” system.

The model will give information 

support for decision-making 
concerning river 


 ood  discharges 

with account for storage capacity 
of the Bureyskaya HPP – Nizhne-
Bureyskaya HPP cascade re-
ser voirs. It enables automation 
of calculations, integration and 

visualization (in a three-dimen-
sional model) of reservoir ope-
rating conditions in a single hard-
ware and software system, in 
a shared coordinate system.

The model was developed 

with the use of modern high-
accuracy survey methods: laser 
aero scanning, bottom survey 
by echo sounding, photo 



with coordinate referencing for 
engineering structures located 
in the 


 ood zone of the Nizhne-

Bureyskaya HPP reservoir.

The geographic information 

system (GIS) “NBHPP reservoir 
territory” was deployed. A three-di-
mensional digital map for the pro-
ject was developed (Scale 1:2000). 
Besides, a shared environment for 
real-time joint work on the project 
during of


 ce and laboratory studies 

was created. This made it possible 
to arrange parallel work of a large 
number of contractors in shared 
information space with all project 
participants’ access to any relevant 

To simulate 



storage of the reservoir during 
water discharges, to calculate 
reservoir volumes and depths, 
a summary network terrain model 
was developed. Environment for 
interactive visualization of objects 

simulated in CAD-systems was 

The works on model develop-

ment have signi


 cant  economic 

impact: the acquired high-ac-
cura cy, detailed data were used 
in development of working docu-
mentation for the Nizhne-Burey-
skaya HPP reservoir, which greatly 
accelerated customer docu menta-
tion furnishing process.

Proven methods signi



reduce the time of surveys for 
development of any design or 
working documentation, especial-
ly for large-area and linear faci-
lities, including those intended for 
building hydraulic structures, water 
reservoirs, roads, transmission 
lines, etc.

The reservoir simulation infor-

mation model is a part of shared 
information environment for 
design process and project data 
control (HydroPRO system). This 
system is used in construction of 
hydropower plants in Russia for 


 rst time. Now, thanks to this 

HydroPRO system and Nizhne-
Bureyskaya HPP operation ex-
perience, it has become possible 
to design new plants, carry out 
project examinations and super-
vise construction works in less 
time and more easily. 

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The Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP is being erected on the Bureya River in the Amur River region. The plant is located downstream the powerful Byreyskaya HPP and acts as its counter-regulator, leveling irregular water discharges.


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