16:06 30.03.2013

Vuhlehirska TPP should be fully restored, says energy minister

3 min read

The operation of Vuhlehirska Thermal Power Plant (Svitlodarsk, Donetsk region), which was heavily damaged by a fire on March 29, will be fully restored, but it is too early to say when, Energy and Coal Industry Minister of Ukraine Eduard Stavytsky has said.

"The four power units will be restored there," the minister, who is a member of the government commission for the accident, said at a meeting with the employees of Vuhlehirska power plant on Saturday.

At the same time, he stressed that it was too early to speak about the time of recovery and about the amount of the damage. "A commission will be working there, it will decide on the time and resources to reconstruct the power plant," Stavytsky said.

According to him, the salary to all employees of the plant will be paid in full.

Donetsk Regional Governor Andriy Shyshatsky, who was present at the meeting, said that eight people were currently in hospital, one of them with burns of his hands, and seven with carbon monoxide poisoning.

Criminal proceedings were launched under Part 2 of Article 272 of the Criminal Code (violation of safety rules during hazardous work).

Stavytsky also said that the main problem in the restoration of the power plant's work is that its four blocks are under the rubble, and their metal elements are currently cooling down. According to preliminary estimates, the cooling of the structures and cleaning up the debris will take up to two months.

"After that we will be able to tell how we will rebuild it," he said.

According to Stavytsky, all units at thermal power plants were in good condition, and four coal-fired unit, damaged by fire, were put into operation 2.5 years ago. Therefore, a major overhaul will be held, the minister said.

As reported, the fire totally destroyed four of Vuhlehirska power plant's seven power units. One person was killed in the fire and five were injured.

At the same time, Channel 5 reported that eight people injured as the result of the fire were in hospital and their condition was improving.

The blaze reportedly started as a result of the ignition of coal dust in the second unit of Vuhlehirska TPP at 1515 on Friday, and then spread to the roof of the building.

The blaze was extinguished at 0540 on Saturday. Its cause is being established.

The plant's operation has been suspended.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Oleksand Vilkul, at the moment, the electricity, water and gas supply to the town of Svitlodarsk has been fully restored. There are still problems with heating.