Based on comprehensive coverage of the open Soviet and international conference literature, reviews developments in magnetohydrodynamic power generation, in which the Soviet program far exceeds the American. The USSR now operates the first MHD power plant, currently attaining 5 MW(e) of a planned 25 MW(e) output, considered to be about 5 years ahead of the United States. The United States, because of early concentration on military applications, is more advanced in high performance closed-cycle MHD generators. Open-cycle MHD offers the possibility of very simply constructed low-pollution electric power plants of improved conversion efficiencies, using plentiful high-sulfur coal, for capital outlays comparable to conventional turbine plants. This report reviews MHD technology, the evolution of MHD programs, facilities and objectives, and discusses U.S./USSR cooperation (the record of the first meeting of the Standing Steering Committee is appended). A second report will cover MHD materials research, perhaps the major problem area. 111 pp. Ref.