No casualties following fire in wrecked Siberian hydropower plant

A fire that broke out on Wednesday in Russia's largest hydropower station, devastated in a fatal accident last month, has caused no injuries, RIA-Novosti quoted the plant's operator as saying on Thursday.

The blaze started at 17:40 local time (09:40 GMT) on September 9 in a turbine hall of the Sayano-Shushenskaya plant in Siberia's Khakasia Republic, forcing the evacuation of around 200 people who were carrying out repair work.

RusHydro said in a statement: "Within a few minutes, the fire was extinguished. There were no fatalities or injuries. The cause of the fire is being investigated."

On Wednesday, a 74th body was discovered at the site of the August 17 water surge at the plant, and one woman is still listed as missing.

The exact cause of the accident remains unknown, and the probe is continuing. A special investigations committee is looking into possible violations of work safety regulations.

The company earlier said repairing the damage could take up to two years, and Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko estimated the cost at over 40 billion rubles ($1.2 billion).

The Khakasia interior ministry said on Thursday that police are investigating a journalist's report that he was attacked by two unidentified men after criticizing the handling of the plant disaster.

Mikhail Afanasyev, editor of the local Novy Fokus news website, earlier told RIA Novosti that the men grabbed him near his home, severely beating him.

Local police earlier launched criminal proceedings against Afanasyev for spreading false information in his articles about the accident, but dropped the charges on August 28.

Other news