(Hokkaido quake) Mechanical problems at thermal power plant

World | 7 Sep 2018 11:52 am

An electric power company in Japan says it found a series of problems with generation facilities at its largest thermal power plant in the quake-hit prefecture of Hokkaido when it tried to bring the plant back online.

The Tomato-Atsuma plant shut down when the strong earthquake struck shortly after 3:00 am yesterday. The suspension is believed to have had knock-on effects that led to all other power plants in Hokkaido dropping off the electrical grid, NHK reports.

Hokkaido Electric Power Company says it began efforts to restart the Tomato-Atsuma facility shortly afterward. The company brought hydropower plants online around 5:00 am and transmitted the electricity needed for the restart to the Tomato-Atsuma plant.

But the utility says it noted around 5:30 am that steam had been leaking from boiler pipes at two of its three generation facilities. The two could not be brought back online.

And four hours later, it found that lubricant leaking from the stem of a turbine had caught fire at the third generation facility.

The utility plans to expedite repairs at each of the three generation facilities but it will still take more than a week before another restart can be attempted.

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