NTPC blast: Death toll rises to 30

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The blast NTPC’s Unchahar power plant took the death toll to 30 on Thursday, which could have been caused by the breakdown of fans meant to handle pressure inside the boiler. The NDRF team accelerated the evacuation of workers by evening in which 59 were reported to suffer some serious injuries. There were about 100 workers near the boiler when the incident happened. According to NTPC’s estimates, around 85 people in all were burnt.

Rathi confirmed that the committee to investigate the reason behind the blast and find the cause of possibility of improper functioning of fans. He also said to the TOI that when one fan pumps air into the boiler, the other draws the air out. “There should be a fine balance in the air movement inside the boiler for proper pressure. In case of any imbalance, the system trips and fans start reducing the pressure. In this case it does not seem to have happened. We are waiting for the final inquiry report,” Rathi explained. As per Rathi, the pressure inside the boiler shot up by 40 times to around 250 mmwc. Rathi said, “That opened up what is called the economiser hopper, installed on one side of the boiler. Soon, hot flue gases started emanating and hit the workers who were working in that area.”

The Union power minister R K Singh said in Lucknow that the three-member probe committee, which would be submitted in between 30 days, would keep an eye on all aspects – installation, design, and maintenance, which could have been the reason behind the blast. Many VIPs visited Rae Bareli after this blast happened like Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Union minister R K Singh, and UP energy minister Shrikant Sharma. This 500-MW sixth unit of the 1550-MW plant was contracted in March this year.

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