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12 dead 64 missing after flooding and explosion at hydro-electric dam
This item updates item 'Russia dam accident, dozens missing'

Sixty-four people missing after a flood at Russia's largest hydro-electric dam are most likely dead, its owner said on Tuesday, indicating a final death toll far higher than the 12 confirmed so far.

"Finding anyone alive in the flood zone is unlikely, but the search continues," Vasily Zubakin, the chairman of state-controlled hydro-power company RusHydro (HYDR.MM), said through a spokesman.

He said 64 people were unaccounted for after a turbine room flooded at the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam early on Monday.

The deputy chief physician at the local hospital said the death toll from the accident had risen to 12, up from a figure of ten given on Tuesday night by the emergencies ministry.

"In our morgue we have 11 bodies that have already been identified by relatives.

Another body has yet to be identified," the physician, Yury Pedchenko, told.

Amateur video of the accident was posted overnight on a Russian news Web site.

It showed an explosion near the base of the dam amid a torrent of gushing water.

Three of the power plant's ten generating units were completely destroyed, Zubakin said on Monday, but Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said there was no structural damage and no danger that the dam would burst.

RusHydro's publicly traded shares remained suspended on Tuesday in Moscow after falling more than 15 percent in London on the previous day.

Around 60 percent of the company's stock is held by the government.

An investigation into the cause of the accident was under way, but analysts pointed to the larger problem of failing Russian infrastructure.

"The event once again points to the poor condition of the equipment and lack of investment in the sector," analysts at VTB Capital said in a note.

"It could force the authorities to re-balance the key goals in the sector's outlook."

Boris Bogush, a board member of RusHydro, said that the costs of repairing the power station will be more than 10 billion roubles ($309.8 million).

"Under very conservative expert evaluations, more than 10 billion roubles will be needed to fully repair the station," Bogush said.

Analysts dismissed these costs as negligible for RusHydro, one of Russia's main blue chip stocks and its largest electricity producer.

The firm's falling stock value was an overreaction on the part of the market, the VTB analysts said, saying that the only remaining risk for the stock was huge penalties and fines, which are unlikely for a government-controlled firm.

RusHydro's shares were down 0.6 percent in London trading at 0946 GMT.

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Added: Aug-18-2009 Occurred On: Aug-17-2009
By: beck64
In:
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Tags: electricity, dam, RusHydro, flooding, explosion, disaster, killed, dead, missing, water, hydro-electric
Marked as: featured
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