Extensive damage to Medupi’s Unit 4 generator after explosion

An explosion at the Medupi Power Station’s Unit 4 generator on Sunday night has resulted in extensive damage, says Eskom.

The incident occurred at around 22:50 on Sunday night.

“The incident occurred during the activity to displace hydrogen with carbon dioxide and air respectively, for the purposes of finding an external leak. Following the power station preliminary investigation, it appears that while performing this activity air was introduced into the generator at a point where hydrogen was still present in the generator at sufficient quantities to create an explosive mixture, which ignited and resulted in the explosion.

“It also appears that there was a deviation from the procedure for carrying out this activity,” said Eskom.

Those employees who were responsible for managing and executing this work have been placed under precautionary suspension pending the conclusion of the major event investigation.

“No injuries have been reported and all employees and contractors have been accounted for. Emergency services attended to seven colleagues requiring treatment for shock. Eskom will continue to provide support to the employees who might have been affected by the incident through its employee assistance programme,” Eskom said on Monday.

Unit 4 was on a short-term outage when the incident occurred, and all work on the unit was suspended with immediate effect.

This included the suspension of all permits to work on the plant until further notice.

Preparation for the return to service of Medupi Unit 5 is currently in progress.

Investigations are underway into the cause of the incident and Eskom will update the public on developments, as well as to what extent this incident will impact the national electricity grid.

Source: South African Government News Agency