Sri Lanka power utility fights fire at Chinese built coal plant

Oct 24, 2010 (LBO) – A fire has broken out at Sri Lanka’s first coal burning power plant in Sri Lanka Western coastal town of Norochcholai which was scheduled to start test operations next month, but it is being brought under control, a top official said. Chairman of state-run Ceylon Electricity Board, Vidya Amarapala said strong winds from the sea were making it difficult to quickly put down the fire completely though it has been “brought under control.”

He details of impact of the fire or whether it will delay plans to for test firing in November was not yet known and a detailed assessment would be made later.

“The only consolation is that the fire is far away from boiler and turbine,” he said. “It was in a peripheral area.”

The 300 MegaWatt power plant, built by China on a long term Chinese credit is a lynchpin in the CEB’s strategy to cut operating costs and turnaround the loss-making utility.

Power minister Champika Ranawaka said last week that the utility hoped to complete test firing and connect the plant to the national power grid by January 2011.

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