Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

The idea of hydroelectric station on the Volga near Samara Bend was proposed by Gleb Krzhizhanovsky in 1910. Ten years later K. V. Bogoyavlensky proposed a hydroelectruc station near Perevoloki, utilizing naturally existing water level difference. The disrupted economic system of the time did not allow this project to be realized.

In the early 1930s the Volga near Samara Bend and Yaroslavl was surveyed, and some dam projects were proposed. In 1937 the project of a dam near the villages of Perevoloki and Krasnaya Glinka was approved. Forced labour from Kuybyshev Camp was used (up to 30,000 people). In the autumn of 1940, oil fields were found near construction site, causing a suspension of construction.

The Hydroproject Institute made a survey in 1949, after which a decision was made to build the hydroelectric station near Zhigulyovsk. August 21, 1950, the project to create a station with installed power of 2.1 gigawatts was approved and construction was started.

In the photograph: before the construction, the Volga River, 1950.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Construction works have just begun. Construction was headed by I. Komzin.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Construction was started, as before, with forced labour used. Thousands of prisoners were forced to work there. In 1955, the number of prisoners involved reached 46,000!

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Photographers were allowed to take pictures of civilian workers only.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

The station’s foundation pit.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

They used best equipment available at that time – drags, excavators and dump trucks.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

A boat bridge.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Building an overflow dam.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

They spent over 7 million m3 of concrete to build the station.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

The overflow dam.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

The overflow dam is 1 km long and is equipped with devices dissipating water energy. It also features three portal bridge cranes with load-carrying capacity of 250 tons.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Near the machinery hall.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Government delegations and inspections would visit the construction site rather often.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

A concrete-mixing plant.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

A drag at work.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Installing the rotor wheel of the turbine.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

The earth-fill dam of the station has a length of 2,800 m and is 600 m thick. Its maximum height is 50 m.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

The machinery hall construction.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

One of the divers participating in the machinery hall construction.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

At the same time, they built twin locks on the left bank of the river.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

One of the locks.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Tail locks.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Head locks.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Checking a high-voltage line.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

A concrete-mixing plant.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Construction of a floating bridge between the station and its earth-fill dam.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

In October, 1955 they tried to shut the river.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

To shut the Volga, they threw over 1,765 ferroconcrete pyramids down on the bottom of the river. Each pyramid had a weight of 10 tons.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

It took them just 19 hours and 35 minutes to shut the river.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

The dam began forming Kuybyshev Reservoir.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

People came out to celebrate their success.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

The Kuybyshev Reservoir has a surface area of 6,450 km2 and a volume of 58 billion cubic meters. It is the largest reservoir in Europe and third in the world by surface area.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

With the filling of the reservoir, some villages and towns, schools and hospitals were rebuilt on higher ground.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

An opening ceremony of Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station took place on August 10th, 1957 and was attended by N. Khrushchev.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

A lot of prisoners building the station were released, many had their sentences abridged.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

The first turbine was put under load on December 29th, 1955. In less than a year, by October 1956, 1,000 gigawatthours of electric energy was produced.

Construction of the Zhigulyovskaya Hydroelectric Station

An old construction plan.

The complex includes a power plant house. Installed power is 2,315 MW, average annual production is 10,500 GWh. The power house has 20 generator units with Kaplan turbines.

The station covers peak loads and maintains frequency stability in the unified power system of Russia (UES), controls flood and maintains navigable waterway. Lower hydroelectric stations are utilised more effectively because of seasonal and over-year regulation provided by the dam. Energy produced by station is transferred by four 500 KV lines – two of them to UES of central Russia and two to UES of the Urals and the Middle Volga.

Location: The Samara Region

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