On September 5, 1921, the Scientific Land-Reclamation Institute attached to the Agricultural Academic Committee was established by Decree of the Council of People’s Commissars. This day marks the beginning of history of the institute which later became the lead scientific research institution of the country for hydraulic engineering construction and operation of hydraulic structures.
The leading Russian hydraulic scientists and hydraulic engineers were employed to work there, including G.K. Riesenkampf, N.N. Pavlovskiy, N.P. Puzyrevskiy, M.A. Velikanov, V.Ye. Timonov and others. The hydraulic engineering laboratory set up at the Institute was able to perform a number of production tasks and became one of the largest in the country.
Scientific research results of the Institute provided the basis for the construction of facilities under the GOELRO plan – Volkhov, Dnieper, Svir, Niva, Upper Volga and other hydroelectric power plants. Moreover, the Institute provided its services to construction and design organizations such as the White Sea–Baltic Canal, Moskva–Volga Canal, Magnitostroy, Moscow Metro, State Design Institute for Water Transport Companies and others on a contractual basis.
In 1931, after reorganization and consolidation, the Institute received its current name, Research Institute of Hydraulic Engineering, and became the country’s lead organization in the field of hydropower and power engineering construction. That was the time when the laboratory facilities of the Institute were expanded and unique laboratories having no analogues in the country appeared.
In 1940, the Institute was granted the All-Union status.
When the Great Patriotic War began, almost a quarter of the Institute personnel was conscripted to the Red Army to fight at the front and join the military construction units. The front needed the knowledge and experience of highly qualified VNIIG specialists with excellent engineering training in all areas of construction. At that time, the subject schedule of the Institute included the works having direct defense-related significance (development of the methods for protection of hydroelectric power plants from air assault and the measures for their restoration and repair; laying military-purpose underground cables; underwater concrete sealing for military purposes, etc.) and the works of indirect defense-related significance (the issues of design safety factor of defense-related hydraulic structures, etc.). What’s more, despite the difficulties suffered by the Institute, great attention was paid to completing the previously commenced works, if possible, and to documenting them in the form of reports or articles.
In 1942, the Institute, as well as most of its personnel, was evacuated to Tashkent and Chirchik cities in Uzbek SSR, thus being provided with the opportunity to continue the work on scientific justification of construction of HPPs in the Urals, Soviet Central Asia, and Siberia. The Institute returned to Leningrad in 1944 after the blockade of the city had been completely lifted.
In 1946, as a sign of honor, it was named after academician B.E. Vedeneev, an outstanding scientist, one of the founders of the Soviet power engineering and a participant in development and implementation of the GOELRO plan.
In the postwar years, there was in increase in the amount of work performed for design, construction and operation of large hydraulic facilities erected under various natural and climatic conditions. These were, first of all, the cascades of hydroelectric power plants on the Volga, Kama, Siberian and Far East rivers. Since 1958, VNIIG was approved as the head organization responsible for the development of the most important scientific problems and for coordination of research and development works under the five-year scientific and technical programs “Hydraulic Engineering Construction”. Performing the main functions in the industry, the Institute held coordination meetings and conferences on a regular basis. Continuing these traditions, VNIIG has taken an active part in organization and holding of the meetings of the Russian hydraulic engineering scientists since 1996. Since 2005, scientific and technical conference “Hydropower. Hydraulic Engineering. New Developments and Technologies” has been held on the basis of VNIIG in St. Petersburg.
Since the 1960s, the Institute has been the head organization for the development of regulatory and methodological documentation (SNiP, GOST, VSN, Manuals, Recommendations, etc.).
The 1960s saw a significant expansion of the laboratory facilities of the Institute as well as opening of the Institute branch in Krasnoyarsk, test sites in Narva, Ivangorod, Dneprodzerzhinsk, where large-scale research not only for hydroelectric power plants, but also for thermal and nuclear power plants was carried out.
In 1965, VNIIG hosted and held the XI Congress of the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR) in Leningrad.
In 1971, in honor of the 50th anniversary of VNIIG, it was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in recognition of the development of hydraulic engineering and energetics. In 1975–1989, the personnel of the Institute entered the All-Union Board of Honor ten times for its outstanding contribution to the implementation of state scientific and technical programs.
The most important achievements of the Institute include participation in creation and development of theoretical basis of the modern science of hydraulic engineering: hydraulics of construction and groundwater movement theory; general methods for elasticity problem solution; general principles of designing hydraulic concrete; theory of thermal stress state of elastic-creeping materials; fracture mechanics; theory of rock and soil mechanics in foundations of hydraulic structures; research of engineering structures made of soil materials, concrete and reinforced concrete constructions. The research results of the Institute formed the basis for the design, construction and operation of more than 200 hydroelectric power plants, the largest of which are Sayano-Shushenskaya, Krasnoyarsk, Bratsk, Boguchany, Bureya, Zeya, Kolyma, Chirkey dams and plants, etc., and more than 150 thermal and nuclear power plants, including foreign facilities.
In 1972, VNIIG began the research for the Leningrad Flood Prevention Facility Complex. The Institute performed the works in this area as early as in the 1920s. In 1970s, the research of flow regime in the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland continued, while the research of design configuration and technologies of erection of soil and concrete structures began. In 1983, a model of the Neva River bed and delta and a part of the Gulf of Finland water area adjacent to the city was created at the Institute in a purpose-built pavilion. The model allowed for artificially creating flood conditions similar to the natural ones, and for tracing the flows determined by water level fluctuations in the Gulf of Finland, the effect of pressure loading, flow rates during floods, and so on. Extensive research was carried out on the master model and made it possible to specify the main hydraulic, environmental and design characteristics of the complex. Currently, VNIIG continues to provide scientific and technical support for the operated structures.
In the late 1980s, VNIIG launched activities on justifying projects for structures on the continental shelf, including oil and gas production platforms and terminals. The experience accumulated by the Institute in this area is unique. Today, the Institute possesses the required qualification, experience, modern hardware and software, as well as laboratory facilities that comply with international standards for comprehensive solution of problems in the design, construction, and operation of offshore fixed platforms in the shelf area.
In 1992, the Institute became a part of RAO UES of Russia, and since 2006 it has been a part of the PJSC RusHydro group of companies.
The recent years of work of Vedeneev VNIIG have been characterized by a steady increase in the scope of works performed, higher demand for scientific and technical developments of the Institute and its entry into new markets for research and development products.
According to the results of the certification audit of the quality management system, conducted by Bureau Veritas International, the Institute has had an international certificate of conformity to ISO 9001:2000 and has been operating according to this system for a number of years.