Eskom has said that repairing damage to a flue gas duct – a type of “chimney” – at the still-unfinished Kusile power station could take months.
The incident that damaged the duct at generating unit 1 took place on 23 October, Eskom said. The unit cannot be returned to service until the repairs have been done, potentially adding to South Africans’ load shedding woes.
“Investigations and assessments are in progress to establish the cause of failure and to ascertain the extent of the damage, as well as the recovery scope of work,” the state-owned utility said in a statement.
“While it is uncertain at this point, it is anticipated the unit may remain offline for a few months and this duration shall become clearer over the next few weeks.
“Access to the area has also been restricted as part of precautionary measures,” it added. “Consultations with various specialist stakeholders, including the original equipment manufacturer, are in progress to determine best course of action to restore the plant as quickly as possible.”
The failed section of the unit 1 flue gas duct is located inside the flue chimney. The ducts are made from steel sections welded together and surrounded by a windshield, which is made of reinforced concrete that also houses the unit 2 and unit 3 flue gas ducts, Eskom explained.
Unit 2 was “off load” at the time of the incident, while unit 3 was generating electricity. “As part of precautionary measures put in place, the return to service of unit 2 has been put on hold while unit 3 continues to run at stable load,” the company said. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media