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Vietas – a powerhouse with two sources

A hydro power station usually acquires its power from one body of water. However, Vietas is supplied by two. Water is transported through a 7 kilometre long tunnel from the six lakes that constitute the Suorva reservoir. Another tunnel is connected to the Satisjaure reservoir 5 kilometres away, enabling Vietas to tap water from both sources. The construction of Vietas Power Station created a respected route from Luleluspen to Suorva in the north of Sweden. The road called Vägen Västerut, meaning the road to the west, was built to ease transport during the construction of Vietas Power Station as well as the Satisjaure reservoir.

Intimidating bedrock

One of the challenges during the construction of Vietas, which even frightened the most experienced engineers, was the fact that the bedrock in which they had to dig the tunnels, consisted of smällberg, which is rock susceptible to rock burst. With a loud bang, large chunks of rock fell down from the roof and walls of the tunnel, due to differing tensions in the bedrock as a result of the rock-blasting work that had to be performed during construction. This was solved by reinforcements and by covering the roof and walls with netting.

The Vietas coup

In 1971, Vietas became a symbol of national interest when thieves stole all salaries that were to be paid out to the employees. It was an ingenious coup; the thieves had gained access to the room where the safe stood and marked the spot in the floor by driving a nail through it. Using the nail as a marker, they had crawled under the building, sawed through the floor and used a burning gun to cut through and open the safe. By doing so, they managed to get a head start of several hours before the burglary was noticed. In fact, they have managed to keep this head start, because the crime now belongs to the department of unsolved cases.

Characteristics of the Lule Älv River

Hydro power is a reliable, safe and renewable source of energy. Today, hydro power accounts for nearly half of Sweden’s total electricity demand. The Lule Älv River, by which Vietas is located, is Vattenfall’s and Sweden’s most important river for hydro power generation.

Vietas is Vattenfall’s second most westerly hydro power station in the Lule Älv River and one of the company’s large facilities. Normally, Vietas is remotely operated from Vattenfall’s control room in Vuollerim, which is responsible for all of the hydro power stations in the Lule Älv River.