Sri Lanka probes China coal plant for defective materials, design

Jan 31, 2014 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is probing a Chinese built coal plant for possible material, design or construction defects, following leaks in a steam cooling unit, officials said. Power minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said she had informed Chinese embassy officials at a meeting in Colombo that the builders had to bear responsibility for the latest breakdown and it was not good for China’s image.

Officials of Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board said it was not unusual for new power plants to be shut down often in the first few years of operations and it had happened in the case of hydro plants built by top Western firms in the past.

The 300MegaWatt coal plant in Norochcholai has had frequent breakdowns since it started two years ago, but the latest shut down has been caused by leaking pipes in the condenser, a major component which cools steam coming out of its turbine to be fed back into the boiler.

Power ministry secretary MMC Ferdinando said the condenser unit was expected to last 25 years or more but had developed leaks in a few years. The coal plant had been in operation for about three years.

CEB was investigating whether defective material, des