The construction of the hydro power plant Boguchanskaya began in 1980 and resumed in 2006. The plant is located on the river Angara near the town Kodinsk. It is carried out by the companies “RusHydro” and “Rusal”. In May 2006 they signed an agreement on the joint development of the Boguchanskoye Energy and Metals Complex (BEMO). The BEMO project provided: completion of the hydroelectric plant and building a nearby aluminum smelter, which would off-take considerable amount of electricity produced by the power plant. The planned design capacity is 3,000 MW. The Russian government points to the importance of completion of the hydroelectric power station for the development of the Siberian economic region according to the "Complex development of the Lower Angara Territories” strategy.
A massive protest movement was established in response to the resumption of the construction works of the power plant.
Ecologists stress that no Environmental Impact Assessment study (OVOSin Russian) was done. The following environmental and social damage is expected to happen: - flooding of 1,494 km2 of land, including 296 km2 of agricultural land (arable land, hayfields and pastures) and 1,131 km2 of forest; - complete demageof local ecosystems; - high risk of impact on Lake Baikal; - 29 settlements in the flood zone: the total number of population resettlement in the project is estimated at 12,173 people (first resettlements in 1980s, second wave of resettlements in 2007).
There are several cattle burials in this region. The cattle were died of anthrax in the xx century. Resident of the area are afraid that after the flooding anthrax spores can get into the water and then into the river.
The company "RusHydro" answered that the EIA and public hearings are not necessary, since all studies were carried out in the 80s in preparation for the construction. Environmentalists point to the change in the project plan without additional research and EIA, violation of environmental laws and real threat to the life and health of people, nature, and extensive damage to the only river flowing out of Lake Baikal and carrying its waters to the Arctic.
The protest movements "Dam" and WWF Russia took the main part in the protests against the construction works. The following actions were done: - WWF Russia appealed to Vnesheconombank (potential investor in the project) to not finance the project without the EIA study; - Demonstrations of region citizens against the project; - Lawsuit to SC "Boguchanskaya HPP"; - A lot of internet publications on the web-site plotina.net: web-site against large hydro power plants in Siberia; - Nine families of the village of Kezhma refused to be relocated.
In December 2010, in order to finance the project Vnesheconombank granted a loan of 28.1 billion rubles (about 0.9 billion US dollars) for a period of 16 years.
The lawsuit against SC "Boguchanskaya HPP" was rejected by the court in May 2012, the appeal was rejected on the 3rd of September 2012.
After that the protest movement has stopped. In October 2012 the first units were put into operation. The final launch is scheduled for 2014.