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Kyrgyzstan's Largest Hydropower Station Hit By Shutdown

Toktogul hydropower station

Toktogul hydropower station

TOKTOGUL, Kyrgyzstan (RFE/RL) -- Mechanical problems at Kyrgyzstan's Toktogul hydropower station early today caused two of its four major power generators to shut down, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

No casualties or significant damage to the station were reported.

Maintenance crews are working to restore the downed generators.

The Kyrgyz Energy Ministry said the shutdown of the generators will not affect the electricity supply in the country and that the problem should be fixed by December 9 at the latest.

The Toktogul hydropower station -- which is Kyrgyzstan's largest -- was built in 1975 and supplies about 40 percent of Kyrgyzstan's electricity.

Meanwhile, Bazarbay Mambetov, a Kyrgyz energy expert, told RFE/RL that the Toktogul station could have similar problems to Russia's Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower station, at which an August accident killed at least 74 workers.

Mambetov said the equipment and construction at the Toktogul and Sayano-Shushenskaya stations took place in the same time period and were made by the same Soviet firms.

He said repairs at Toktogul are urgently needed, as no upgrades have been made at either of the two hydropower stations since they began operating in the 1970s.