Eskom: Kusile Unit 1 Flue Gas Duct Fails

  • On the 23rd of October 2022, a section of the Kusile Unit 1 flue gas duct (the equivalent of a chimney in a household) exiting the sulphur dioxide absorber failed on the horizontal rubber expansion joint as well as the compensator (a bend to direct flue gas up the chimney and allow for thermal expansion of the chimney).
  • The damage happened whilst the unit was on forced shutdown for Flue Gas De-sulphuration recirculating pump repairs. 

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. 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.

Related news: R30 billion needed to complete Kusile and Medupi power stations

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.

Unit 1 flue gas duct coupler to the chimney stack has disconnected. Image credit: Karin Morrow – Twitter

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. Unit 2 was off load at the time while Unit 3 was generating electricity.

Related news: AfDB Releases Completion Report on South Africa’s 4764MW Medupi Coal Fired Power Station: Project Will Not Show a Financial Benefit Over its Lifetime

Unit 4, whose FGD duct is housed on a separate flue chimney, is currently on load  generating full load to the national grid. 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.

Eskom recently confirmed that a fire broke out and damaged generation unit 5 that is still under construction at Kusile Coal Power Station last month. The fire occurred at a gas air heater on 17 September which is in commissioning process phase. Read more 

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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