Sri Lanka coal plant test on schedule despite fire: minister

Oct 25, 2010 LBO) – A planned testing of Sri lanka’s first coal-fired power plant will go ahead as scheduled on November 17, despite a fire which broke out over the weekend, power minister Champika Ranawaka said. Potential fire damage to Norochcholai plant on the west coast is still being assessed by the government analyst, with its costs being known only by mid-November, he told a news conference.

“However, there is no damage to the main power plant and no loss to the Ceylon Electricity Board (state power utility),” Ranawaka said.

The plant has been insured by the Chinese company building it and they will cover the cost of any potential damage, officials said.

A test firing of the plant will go ahead as scheduled on November 17.

“The fire erupted when sparks fell on a three-metre stack of polymer plastic filters which are being used at the power plant, Ranawaka said.

“Workers from the Chinese construction company were welding on top of a 21-metre tower which contained the filters.”

The coal plant fire is the second major accident involving Chinese contractors. In September at least 25 people died when explosives stored by a Chinese road contracting firm exploded in Sri Lanka’s