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A video has emerged which shows the tremendous damage caused by an explosion at Medupi Power Station on Sunday night.

Eskom confirmed on Monday that an explosion took place at 22:50 on Sunday at the Unit 4 generator at Medupi.

Unit 4 was on a short-term outage when the incident occurred. All work on the unit was suspended with immediate effect, including the suspension of all permits to work on the plant until further notice.

The explosion was so significant that the disturbance caused Unit 5 at the power station to trip.

Eskom said no injuries had been reported, and all employees and contractors have been accounted for. Emergency services attended to seven colleagues requiring treatment for shock.

Eskom is providing support to employees affected by the explosion through its Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

Eskom said the explosion resulted in extensive damage to the generator.

Medupi damage
Medupi damage

Eskom’s Dan Mashigo said Unit 4 at Medupi had been declared a no-go area and is in the process of being physically barricaded.

“The event is classified as reportable to the Department of Labour and is a major incident to be investigated by Eskom Audit and Forensics Department,” said Mashigo.

“The area was secured, and once the Fire Chief and resident engineers have cleared it, the investigators will be given the green light for initial inspections and assessments.”

Following a preliminary investigation, Eskom said it appears the incident occurred while technicians attempted to displace hydrogen with carbon dioxide, then air, to find an external leak.

“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,” Eskom stated.

The power utility said that it appears there was a deviation from the procedure for carrying out this activity.

Eskom said it has undertaken to place those employees responsible for managing and executing this work under precautionary suspension pending the conclusion of the Major Event Investigation.

Eskom added that it would update the public regarding the extent to which this incident will impact the national electricity grid.

Damage at the Medupi Power Station

The video below provides an overview of the damage at Unit 4 at the Medupi Power Station.

Now read: Explosion at Medupi

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