Power station crumbles in Russia, 80,000 cut off: officials

31st August 2010, Comments 0 comments

A power substation in Russia's Volga region of Tatarstan partially crumbled after what officials said was a "bang" and cut power to the homes of around 80,000 people, authorities said on Tuesday.

The officials however refused to say that an explosion caused the accident in the region's main city of Kazan.

"It has been established that as a result of a bang that happened for unclear reasons there has been a partial crumbling of the brick walls of a three-storey building of the substation," the ministry said in a statement, adding that all the equipment at the Leninskaya substation remained intact.

No-one was hurt in the accident which happened at 2220 GMT but an ensuing power cut affected some 80,000 people in over 230 residential buildings as well as a hospital and three kindergartens, the ministry said.

Andrei Rodygin, spokesman for the emergencies ministry's branch in Tatarstan, said authorities were working to restore power.

He added that a sudden power surge or short circuit might be at fault, noting that bomb experts were at the scene.

Many of Russia's infrastructure facilities date back to the Soviet era and power outages are common. A breakdown at an electricity substation earlier this month triggered a massive power cut in Saint Petersburg, its worst urban blackout in half a decade.

Russia in the past months has also been on edge due to a string of attacks by pro-Muslim rebels, especially after they had pledged to attack the country's key infrastructure sites.

In July, militants stormed a hydroelectric plant in the Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria, killing two guards and setting the plant on fire with a string of blasts.

© 2010 AFP

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