Disaster waiting to happen at N’cholai


By Ifham Nizam

 There was a risk of a fire breaking out at the coal fired plant at Norochcholai due to the large quantity of coal stored there weighing more than 600,000 MT, senior engineers said yesterday. The amount would continue to increase with ten more ships expected to unload within weeks, they said.

The first phase 300MW or some 25 per cent of the country’s power requirement has been out of order due to a breakdown on January 10 and coal stocks are piling up.

Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Deputy General Manager (Generation) M. C. Wickramasekara told The Island that the coal stock pile up would not be a major problem as apart from the immediate intake the remaining coal was kept in a moist condition.

But, engineers pointed out that coal would lose its efficiency owing to moisture.

Wickramasekara said that the CEB had to stock coal before April due to rough seas on west coast for five months.

He said a team of Indian experts from Tamil Nadu had arrived to conduct Eddy Current tests today at Norochcholai.

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