R/€ = 13.76
R/$ = 10.96
Au 1193.42 $/oz
Pt 1213.50 $/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
Recent Research Reports
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.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
JSE-listed real estate investment trust (REIT) Rebosis Property Fund achieved a distribution growth of 8.1% to 99.45c per linked unit in the financial year ended August 31, despite volatile market conditions.
A low-cost, inflatable incubator won this year’s international James Dyson design award, which aims to encourage and inspire the next generation of design engineers.
The World Bank released its ‘Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency’ report last month and ranked South Africa 43 out of 189 global economies for its ease of doing business, with Singapore topping the rankings.
Air Products South Africa officially launched its R300-million Eastern Cape air- separation unit (ASU), at its new manufacturing facility in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), earlier this month. It is the second facility that Air Products launched in South...
BMW South Africa (SA) has signed a power purchasing agreement with energy company Bio2Watt. The offtake partnership will bring renewable energy to the carmaker’s Rosslyn plant, north of Pretoria.