Explosion Rips Through Dutch Coal/Biomass Plant

An explosion at a 600-MW coal/biomass power plant in the eastern Netherlands city of Nijmegen early on Thursday morning sent steam clouds into the sky, scattered ceramic wool in the vicinity, and prompted police to advise nearby residents to keep their windows and doors shut. No casualties were reported, and all workers are accounted for, said GDF Suez, whose subsidiary Electrabel owns the plant.

The incident that occurred at 7 a.m. (06:00 GMT) was "linked to a steam pipe overpressure," GDF Suez (@GDFSuez) said in a tweet on Thursday. The power plant was evacuated and the area secured. No reliability concerns were reported as a result of the blast.

A YouTube video shows steam pouring out of the Gelderland power station. In a tweet later on Thursday, police lifted the advisory on going outside and keeping doors and windows shut. Officials said (translated from the Dutch): "There were no casualties and no injuries, if known. All hospitals are still open and accessible. There is glass wool on the street, let this lie and do not touch it."

Electrabel in April 2010 started operations at a new biomass installation at its Gelderland power station, replacing one-quarter of the coal previously combusted there with wood pellets.

Sources: POWERnews

—Sonal Patel, Senior Writer (@POWERmagazine)