R/€ = 13.17
R/$ = 11.58
Au 1291.55 $/oz
Pt 1263.00 $/oz
Feb 14, 2003
Lack of maintenance likely cause of Duvha explosionBack
Engineering|Eskom|Fire|Generator|Witbank|Duvha Power Station|S Duvha Power Station|Electricity Supply|Maintenance|Service|Solidarity Trade Union|Dirk Hermann|Power|Tony Stott
© Reuse this It appears likely that a lack of maintenance led to the explosion at Eskom’s Duvha power station last month, but the South African power utility has not confirmed this.
Unit Two of the Duvha power station, some 15 km from Witbank, in Mpumalanga, was in the process of being returned to service after an outage, when a fire broke out on the turbo-generator on the morning of January 8.
However, it seems that a month later, the investigation into the incident has not yielded any conclusive findings.
No one was injured in the fire and Eskom spokesperson Tony Stott said at the time that there was no interruption to the electricity supply.
The 600MW unit was said to be stable in shutdown conditions and Eskom authorities launched a technical investigation into the incident.
At the time of the fire, Stott said it would take about a week before investigators could determine the cause of the explosion and the extent of the damage.
Since then, numerous attempts to contact Stott have failed.
The Solidarity Trade Union, which presents some 7 000 Eskom employees, told Engineering News Online this week that it is involved in the Eskom probe, but that the cause of the explosion is still unknown.
“Nothing formal has yet emerged from the investigation, but there are two main issues that the union is querying at this stage,” said Solidarity spokesperson Dirk Hermann.
He said that the union is concerned about the fact that the maintenance of the power station had been outsourced by Eskom and, as a result, the regularity of inspections carried out at Duvha.
“Though the cause has not yet been established, we are arguing that a maintenance problem could have caused the fire. It is actually incredible that no one was hurt in the explosion, because it was big,” Hermann added.
“We are also concerned that the problem could also affect other units and we’ve asked Eskom to conduct thorough inspections at all their stations.
Last month, Solidarity also speculated that the repairs to the unit could run into some R2-billion and take between two and four years to complete.
No official confirmation of any of these allegations could be obtained from the power utility.
It is also not clear what action Eskom would take to prevent such incidents from recurring and it is also not known if any action would be taken against the company tasked with performing the maintenance.
The last unit at the Duvha power station, which cost some R1,6-billion to build, came into operation in 1984. The station employs 900 people and its mine boasts the largest open-cast colliery in the Southern Hemisphere.
Duvha became the first power station in the world to be retrofitted with pulse jet fabric filter plants on three of its six units in 1993. Eskom says these plants contribute largely to the reduction of air pollution by removing 99,99% of the fly ash which otherwise would be released into the air through the station's chimneys.
Edited by: Martin Czernowalow© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electricity News
Updated 17 minutes ago South Africa's State-run power utility Eskom said on Tuesday a pilot pricing project aimed at getting customers to cut their consumption on peak days was showing signs of success. Eskom, which supplies about 95% of the power to Africa's most advanced economy, is...
Updated 37 minutes ago South African power utility Eskom has funds to pay for diesel to run its turbines until the end of March, averting a crisis that could have seen it lose 5% of its capacity, a government source said. Eskom is currently battling to keep demand from overwhelming its...
Eskom implemented stage two rolling power cuts on Tuesday to help bolster power supply for the rest of the week, acting CEO Dan Marokane said. "We moved to stage two in order to manage our reserves at our pumped storage schemes and gas turbines so that we can better...
Updated 16 minutes ago South Africa's State-run power utility Eskom said on Tuesday a pilot pricing project aimed at getting customers to cut their consumption on peak days was showing signs of success. Eskom, which supplies about 95% of the power to Africa's most advanced economy, is...
Updated 33 minutes ago International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde has warned that African economies could be hurt by a slowdown in China's economy and an imminent hike in United States interest rates. Lagarde, speaking on Tuesday on a visit to Rwanda, said IMF's global economic...
Updated 36 minutes ago South African power utility Eskom has funds to pay for diesel to run its turbines until the end of March, averting a crisis that could have seen it lose 5% of its capacity, a government source said. Eskom is currently battling to keep demand from overwhelming its...
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
This Week's Magazine
Three-dimensional (3D) printers being sold in South Africa by electronics distributor Rectron currently print in two types of plastic, but have a clear upgrade path over the next five years to eventually print in wood, ceramics and metal-alloy materials, says Rectron...
The world’s two dominant commercial aircraft manufacturers, Airbus of Europe and Boeing of the US, both recently announced that they had made record aircraft deliveries in 2014. Boeing set a global record for the industry with 723 commercial aircraft delivered, while...
The Western Cape is shifting further into the renewable-energy space with the official opening of a factory specialising in solar inverters, a key component of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants. The investment in the manufacturing facility in Cape Town aims to boost the...
Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) last month welcomed Cabinet’s establishment of a technical team war room to undertake various interventions to improve electricity supply security over the short- and medium-term, but added that the private sector also had a...
Despite a rapid rise in mobile connections and the economic and social benefits of such connectivity, more than half of the world ended 2014 unconnected. For this reason, industry commentators believe the biggest impact of mobile technology is still to come –...