Medupi explosion ‘part of bigger problem’ at Eskom - expert

Medupi explosion ‘part of bigger problem’ at Eskom - expert

An energy expert says the explosion at Eskom's Medupi power station in Limpopo is only a small part of a bigger problem.

Eskom load shedding - AFP

Ted Blom says it's clear the proper hydrogen cooling procedures weren't followed at the Unit 4 generator.


And that is what led to Sunday night's explosion. 

“Here we had two issues,” says Blom. 

“One was that proper procedures were not followed and I believe secondly, the issue is actually bigger than that. Eskom’s procedures aren’t foolproof and they need to review them. They are not appropriate and that is why they have had more than one incident with generators. “

Eskom says the incident happened during efforts to displace hydrogen with carbon dioxide and air respectively, for the purposes of finding a leak.


It has since suspended two operators and four managers, who it says deviated from procedure.


Blom says load-shedding can't be ruled out. 

”It certainly brings the prospect of load shedding much, much closer. Last week Eskom had about three gigawatts of spare capacity. Worldwide the norm is about 15%, which is four to  five gigawatts. 

“So Eskom is already low on spare capacity and they have been low for the last 14 years. And at the moment they are running below 10% spare capacity, which is a disaster waiting to happen.”  

Blom also believes Eskom deploying its own forensic team to investigate the incident is not the right move.

“This team has been incapable of uncovering corruption under its own noses for the past 21 years and are not professional. I believe it’s a Department of Labour issue, it’s an industrial accident, a massive industrial accident, and hopefully the Department of Labour will appoint professional people to do the investigation into both the accident as well as the procedures that should govern these type of situations.”

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