R/€ = 13.11
R/$ = 11.90
Au 1205.90 $/oz
Pt 1147.50 $/oz
Feb 14, 2003
Lack of maintenance likely cause of Duvha explosionBack
© 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
Power utility Eskom said it would extend power cuts to 2 000 MW of electricity from 12:00 to 22:00 on Friday due to a shortage of generating capacity. The cash-strapped State utility, which has been forced to reduce electricity supply in Africa's most advanced...
Article contains comments
The changing role of the African electricity consumer is held up in a new Deloitte report as a potentially “disruptive” trend for the sub-Saharan African power industry. Africa infrastructure and power leader Shamal Sivasanker argues that consistent growth in region...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
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.
This Week's Magazine
While economic forecasts for the African continent are most favourable, African airlines may not be able to benefit from the expected growth in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi has warned....
The Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) will need to change substantially post 2020, says Metair Investments South African operations COO Ken Lello. “We must not make tweaks. We have to change. What we are doing is not sustainable.”
Banking group Absa’s forecast is for the rand to end the year at around R13 against the dollar, weakening further to R13.50 by 2016, says Absa sectoral analyst Jacques du Toit. He warns that possible interest rate hikes in the US may see capital being pulled from...
The Dispute Resolution Centre at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now open to handle party-to-party disputes. The BCCEI represents the interests of all level four to nine Construction Industry Development Board companies.
Communications technology firm Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling says the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility has been integrated into all facets of its operations, which has provided it with sustainable revenue...