|Generator explodes at power station
Posted Wed, 08 Jan 2003
A turbo-generator exploded and caught fire at
Duvha power station near Witbank in Mpumalanga on Wednesday morning, Eskom
No one was injured in the accident which
happened shortly after 6am, Eskom spokesman Tony Stott said.
"If it had happened at 8am, people would
likely have been injured and could even have been killed," said Bennie
Blignaut, of the trade union Solidarity.
"This was one of the largest explosions in
But Stott said he did not think the time
would have made a difference.
"It is not as if people were not working
there at the time."
Stott said unit 2 of the power station was in
the process of being returned to service after an outage when the
"It damaged itself explosively and caught
The station's fire-fighting and emergency
teams, along with Witbank's fire department and emergency services, brought
the fire under control.
There were no interruptions in power supply,
and the other units continued to operate, Stott said.
"The unit is stable in shutdown conditions
pending a technical investigation of the incident."
Blignaut estimated the damage at about
R2-billion, but Stott said he the extent would only be established through
According to Blignaut, the units were over 20
"Poor maintenance could have been the cause,"
Eskom was using fewer people, and employing
contractors, rather than permanent staff, Blignaut said. "For us it is all
He called for a commission of inquiry into
the incident, of which Solidarity wanted to be part.
Stott said it was premature to speculate
about the cause of the accident before the technical investigation had taken
He said the age of the generators was not a
cause of concern for Eskom.
Stations like Duvha were designed to last at
least 40 or 50 years. Their maintenance schedules were also designed to
ensure they were kept running, Stott said.
Eskom's head office would put an
investigating team together. It had to report to the inspector of machinery
at the Department of Labour.
If necessary, technical experts would also be
brought in, he said