The Development of Hydropower System of the Magadan Region

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The scheme of hydro potential 

development of the Kolyma River 
was approved in 1977 by the Mi-
nist  ry of Energy and Electri 



of the USSR. It was reviewed 
by the use of upper and lower 
reaches of the river about 1100 km 
long, starting from the source to 
the mouth of the river Korkodon. 
Lower land of Kolyma was found 
unusable for hydro power use, 
due to less favorable topographic 
conditions, and taking into account 


 shery. On the upper section 

of the river there was revealed 
the possibility of building a cas-
cade of nine hydropower plants 
(further HPP), of which six had
the best record: Verkhne-Kolym-

skaya, Kolym 

skaya, Ust-Sred-

nekan skaya, Mogu 

che  gor skaya, 

Ust-Sugoyskaya, and Ust-Korko-
donskaya. These sta 

ti ons would 

have allowed to use 60% of the 
economic po 

ten tial of Kolyma 

River. But today, the cascade con-
sists of two hydro power plants: the 
Ko lym skaya (operating) and Ust-
Sred ne kanskaya (under construc-
tion), using 25% of the economi-
cally effective hydro potential of 
the river and covering 95% of the 
region’s electricity needs.



 rst idea of the construction 

of cascade of hydropower 
plants on the Kolyma River 
was expressed by the geologist 
D.V. Voznesenski in 1932 after 

Kolymskaya HPP. View from the hill

New Energy

of the Far East

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the rafting through the Kolyma 
thresholds. He was supported 
by the Director of the state trust 
“Dalstroy” E.P. Berzin, and  in 1933 
in Nagaevo the expedition of the 
Leningrad Institute for design of  
hydraulic structures (Giprovod) of 
16 people came. Five specialists 
and forty workers of “Dalstroi” 
have joined them. After 26 days, 


 ve hundred kilometers, 

the expedition arrived to the Ust-
Srednekan. The results of work 
had to be submitted in the middle 
of 1935.  

In 1935 a dam was offered 

to be build on the Kolyma River 
in height of 76 meters, along the 
crest of 540 meters in length, to in-
stall 4 turbines with a total capa city 
of 50 MW. Apart from Kolymskaya 
HPP other options were offered: 
Srednekanskaya, Lower Buyun-
dinskaya, Upper Buyundinskaya 
and HPP on the Lake of Jack Lon-
don. The cost of construction was 
determined by almost 200 million 
rubles, even for “Dalstroi” it was 
unaffordable amount. Therefore, 
in the thirties, none of these plans 
were destined to become.

Only in 1967 the Ministry of 

Energy issued the task for the 
institution “Hydroproject” for in-
vestigation and design of Ko lym-
skaya HPP. At that time it became 
clear that for the serious technical 
modernization of mining Magadan 
region needed a reliable energy 
base. Two years later, November 
the 6th, 1969 Minister of Energy 
and Electri


 cation issued an order 

on establishment of the construc-
tion management of “Kolymages-
stroy”. From the 1st of December, 
1969 Y.I. Frishter has started to 


 ll the duties of head of con-


Kolymskaya HPP, unlike many

others, did not begin with tents 
and dams, but with terminal 
stations, with access roads, with 
housing and recreation, with the 
construction of the hydro builders 
village Sinegorye. In 1972 the 


 rst school was opened there, the 

construction of two-storey houses 
of timber began, then there were 
rows of beautiful and comfortable, 
like twins, houses made from 
aluminum panels. The construction 
was carried out under extremely 
severe weather conditions in the 
permafrost zone. Climate there 
is sharply continental: with very 
cold winters and moderately warm 
summers. The annual amplitude 
of temperature 


 uctuations  aims 

to 98 degrees, the minimum 
winter temperature is 62 degrees 
below zero. The heating period 
lasts 270 days.

Along with the continued con-

struction of settlements for hydro 
builders unfolded work on the main 
hydroelectric plants was carried 
out, already on the 4th of June in 


 rst soil bucket was taken 

out, and in 1976 Kolymskaya 
HPP was announced as All-Union 
heavy construction site. Two 
and a half thousand young men 
and women in Komsomol youth 
teams simultaneously worked 

there. In 1980 the Kolyma River 
was blocked in the alignment 
of the HPP and after only 



months the 


 rst hydropower unit 

has been tested at idle. The last, 


 fth hydropower unit was put 

into operation in 1994. In 2010 
the station was named after the 
head of its constructor and the 



director – Yuri Iosifovich Frishter. 

Kolymskaya HPP with capa-

city of 900 MW and average an-
nual output of 3.3 billion kW/h is 
a hydro power station with the high-
est ground (rock-


 ll) dam, which 

reaches a height of 134.5 me-
ters. Reservoir of 148 km long, 
6 km wide and depth of 120 m 
has a capacity of 14.56 mil-
lion m³. Kolymskaya HPP is the 
most power 

ful in Russia power 

plant with an under ground loca-
tion of the engine room, which 
is connected with the surface by 
a 300-meter transport tunnel and 
elevator shafts. Hydro station has 
a lot of permanent and temporary 
underground struc 

tures, a total 

length of more than seven kilom-
eters. Putting Kolymskaya HPP 
into operation allowed withdraw-
ing the reserve of Arkagalinskaya 
State District Power Plant and sig-


 cant reduction of the consump-

tion of coal in the Magadanskaya 
combined heat and power plant 
CHP (with the termination of the 
heating period CHP stops and 
electric boiler is used). Every year 
it prevented the burning of about 
one million tons of coal, mainly 

Blocking of Kolyma

in Kolymskaya HPP site

of Kolymskaya HPP

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Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP

Already within the construction 

of Kolymskaya HPP it was clear 
that further development of the re-
gion, including the mining industry, 
would require the creation of addi-
tional generation. The issue of the 
construction of the second stage 
of Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP cas-
cade, was discussed as early as 
the 1970s, but con struc tion was 
managed to start only in 1991. 
Nevertheless, pre 

pa ratory work 

was started in the mid-80s. So in 
1985 from the vil lage Laryukovaya 
located on the Ko ly ma highway, 
for future Ust-Sred 

ne kanskaya 

HPP site, the con struction of road 
for nearly 40 km in length began. 
Not much later the 


 rst team of 

buil ders was brought. The team 
began construction of a hostel 
in the future shift camp for hydro 
builders. In the short two-three 
years, two bridges over Orotukan 
River and Kolyma River were built.

Project of Ust-Srednekanskaya 

HPP with electrical capacity of 
570 MW (4 hydro units with elec-
trical capa city of 142.5 MW each) 
was developed by the Institute 
“Lengidro proekt”. HPP is located 
on the Kolyma River, 217 km be-

low current Kolymskaya HPP. The 
original construction was quite ac-
tive, but in the late 1990s due to 
the worsening economic situation 
in Russia the speed was slowed 
down. However, the regional 
autho rities had a clear position – 
building of the station is neces-
sary. Because its input would 
change the entire structure of the 
fuel and energy balance of the re-
gion and would provide the energy 
base of the region’s economy for 
many years ahead. 

Prior to 2004, unstable funding 

did not allow to expand widely 
the construction. Due to changes 
in economic conditions for the 
development of the Magadan 
Region and on the initiative of the 
customer JSC “Kolymaenergo” 
re-state examination of the project 
of Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP was 
carried out in 2004 and received 
a positive expert opinion. On the 
3rd of December, 2004 at the
meeting of Rosenergo, it was de-
cided to recognize the appropriate 
completion of starting complex of 
Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP. 

Active construction of the sta-

tion was resumed in 2006: the pro-

ject of Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP 
entered the list of invest projects 
of the Federal Target Program 
“Development of the Far East and 
Trans-Baikal”. In 2008 comple-
tion of the project was entrusted 
to JSC “RusHydro”, despite the 
crisis in the global economy, the 
speed of construction was quite 
high. So after 5 years, the 


 rst two 

hydraulic units of Ust-Srednekan-
skaya HPP were launched after 
successful tests. The station is 
included in the Magadan energy 
system and it covers about 17% 
of the region’s needs. 

Construction Customer is JSC 

“Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP”, the 
general contractor is JSC “Ust-
SrednekanGESstroy”. Both com-
panies are subsidiaries of PJSC 
“Kolymaenergo”, which from its 
turn is a subsidiary of PJSC “Rus-

 Hydro system represents 

pressure head front with length 
of about 2.5 kilometers, including 
earthen, concrete (spillway, sta-
tion and blank) dams, with maxi-
mum height of 75 m and a power-
house of dam type. Production 
and processing facility is located 

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on station site. Complete gas-
insulated switchgear of 220 kV is 
placed in it. Moreover, on the sta-
tion site buildings of maintenance 
services and buildings of the 
economic unit, including sewage 
treatment plants and a 


 re station 

are located. 

At the moment on Ust-Sred-

nekanskaya HPP installation of 
a third hydraulic unit has begun. 
The contract for its production 
and supply was signed between 
“Power Machines” and “Rus-
Hydro” in 2014. “Power Machines” 
will put generator completed with 
excitation system, as well as the 
automatic control system (ACS) of 
hydraulic unit on Ust-Srednekan-
skaya HPP and hydro turbine with 
electric capacity of 142.5 MW. The 
impeller of hydraulic unit with di-
ameter of 5.95 meters and weight 
of 85.4 tones was delivered to 
the Magadan region by plane 
AN-124-100  “Ruslan” in the mid-
dle of June of the current year. In 
a similar way in the beginning of 
2000s, the company “Power Ma-
chines” delivered units of hydrau-
lic turbines for hydroelectric units’ 
number 1 and number 2, which 
are already in operation at the 
Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP. 

Less heavy equipment for the 

hydraulic unit number 3 of Ust-
Srednekanskaya HPP is delivered 
to Magadan Region by railway (to 
Vladivostok), by sea (to Magadan) 
and by highway. At the moment 
hydro generator has been deli-
vered to the station. Hydraulic unit 
number 3 is the 


 rst machine on 

the Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP, 
where to set a permanent impel-
ler. On the 


 rst two units there are 

temporary impellers, designed for 
lowered pressure in the range from 
24 to 46 m. Thus, after the launch 
of the third hydraulic unit the col-
laborative work of exchangeable 
impellers of the 


 rst starting com-

plex and the regular impeller of the 
third machine will still be possible. 
The launching of the 3rd hydrau-
lic unit of Ust-Srednekanskaya
hydropower plant in operation is 
expected in 2018. This will elimi-
nate the spillway in winter, which 
will increase the reliability and 
safety of the hydro system. 

Hydro builders conventionally 

divide the completion of Ust-
Srednekanskaya HPP into three 
main stages. At the 


 rst  stage, 

except hydraulic unit installation, it 
is planned to rise crest in pressure 
structures to the level of 275.50 m 
(276.50 m for earth dam) above sea 
level, the construction of the power 
house for hydraulic unit number 3, 
buildings of maintenance ser vices 
and a garage. 

At the second stage the con-

struction of waterfront facilities 
before project markers – 293 m 
(293.50 m for earth dam), the con-
struction of the power house for hy-
draulic unit number 4, reinstal ling
temporary working wheels of 
hydro electric units number 1 and 
number 2 on the regular are plan-
ned. At the levels above 276 m, 
when the pressure on the hydrau-
lic unit will exceed 46 m, only units 
with the regular impellers will be 
able to work. 

The third 


 nal stage of construc-

tion includes residual amounts of 
work, such as instal lation of hyd-
rau lic unit number 4, the com pletion 
of improvement hydro system,
remediation of quarries, the elimi-
nation of the construction village 
and the industrial base. In addition, 
work and costs associated with the 
launch of hydraulic unit number 4, 
which enter terms determines the 
intensity of the deve 

lopment of 

economy of the region covered by 
the energy system of the Magadan 
region, are included to that stage.   

The launching of the power 

plant will provide electricity to 
the developing mining enter-
prises, primarily gold mining. 
The develop ment of hydropower 
also sti 

mu lates the creation of 

new in dustries, which are unique 
for the region. It can be lique



hyd rogen, which agreement on 
the construction was signed by 
RusHydro and the Japanese com-
pany “Kawasaki” in 2013. In addi-
tion, the hydropower station will 
contribute to the shipping, regu-
lating runoff of the Kolyma River. 
New energy power will reduce 
consumption of imported fuel and 
allow restraining of electricity ta-
riffs growth by reducing the cost of 
its production. 

Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP sig-



 cantly increased power safety 

in the region. Before starting the 


 rst hydroelectric units of the new 

power station, the needs of the iso-
lated energy system of Magadan 
by 95% were provided by one 
hydro power plant – Kolymskaya 
HPP. Today, in the Magadan re-
gion highly maneuverable reserve 
source of generation appeared 
and it has already the most posi-
tive impact on the reliability of 
power supply of the population 
and industrial enterprises. 

Construction of

Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP

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The scheme of hydro potential development of the Kolyma River was approved in 1977 by the Ministry of Energy and Electrification of the USSR. It was reviewed by the use of upper and lower reaches of the river about 1100 km long, starting from the source to the mouth of the river Korkodon. Lower land of Kolyma was found unusable for hydro power use, due to less favorable topographic conditions, and taking into account its fishery.


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