Lucknow: The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) on Thursday demanded a high-level inquiry into the explosion at Unchahar plant of NTPC, which killed at least 30 people and injured more than 60.
Expressing concern over casualties, AIPEF chairman Shailendra Dubey said here that an inquiry was needed and the safety factor should not be compromised at any cost.
The inquiry would help ascertain the cause of the blast, which in turn would help in planning safety measures to avert such disasters in the future and prevent the loss of valuable lives of employees and engineers.
Mr Dubey spoke to UNI while travelling to Unchahar along with office bearers of UP Power Engineers Association to discuss the matter with engineers and attempt to ascertain the cause of the blast. "We should find ways to avoid and eliminate 'recurrence' of such incidents in view of the fact that a large number of such boilers are operational across the length and breadth of India," Mr Dubey said.
The AIPEF, he added, will soon submit a memorandum to Union Minister of State for Power RK Singh in this respect demanding strict adherence to safety measures in running the power plants.
He added that there were various factors that needed critical introspection to avoid recurrence of such incidents. "In any case, it needs a high-level inquiry by people who are familiar with industrial safety and chief inspector of steam boilers and smoke hazards," he added.
The blast was reportedly triggered in the duct that was connected to the boiler which is used for transferring ash of burnt coal. It is believed that the ash pipe got choked, causing the blast.
According to Mr Dubey, apart from huge accumulation of ash in the furnace, the problem could also get aggravate when the coal powder that is pumped into the furnace develops a 'clinker formation'.
As workers were engaged in break the clinkers, the coal supply got disrupted and that disturbed the pressure, raising it to +350 mmwc from normal pressure of +/-5 mmwc into the boiler, which started vibrating before bursting from corner number 2.
"The formation of coal clinkers often causes serious problem for smooth working of a power plant," said Mr Dubey. He added that the boiler has enormous pressure which needs to be maintained with smooth flow of coal. UNI