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 From fossil fuels it has forayed into generating electricity via hydro. Forbes Global 2000’ ranking of the World’s biggest companies. one of the only four companies to be awarded this status. established in 1975.  To strengthen its core business.  NTPC became a Maharatna company in May 2010. power trading.  NTPC was ranked 400th in the ‘2016. . the corporation has diversified into the field of consultancy.651MW.  INTRODUCTION  NTPC is India’s largest power utility with an installed capacity of 53. ash utilisation and coal mining as well. nuclear and renewable energy sources. rural electrification. training of power professional.




from which hot flue gases and steam escaped. Uttar Pradesh. in Unchahar.  The blast hit the 500-MW Unit 6 that had been operating since April 2017. elevation and there was an opening . affecting the people working around the area"..  The explosion killed 38 people who may have been cleaning ash from the boiler's interior.  According to a statement released by NTPC.  A series of lapses triggered by the hurry to launch the 500 MW power unit is suspected to be behind the deaths of 42 people in the 1 November accident..  The plant is operated by government-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited. India. "there was sudden abnormal sound at 20 m. NTPC BOILER BLAST  The NTPC power plant explosion was a boiler explosion that occurred on 1 November 2017 at a newly commissioned 500-megawatt unit of the Feroze Gandhi Unchahar coal-fired power plant. . At the time nearly two hundred workers were on duty.

NTPC PLANT OF Unchahar .

a joint venture company of NTPC and BHEL. or 40 months from the time it was announced in August 2013. However. NTPC was constructing this unit in collaboration with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and NTPC BHEL Power Projects Private Limited (NBPPL).  Ash gathered in the furnace of the boiler. pressure built up and the boiler burst. Due to gathering of ash.  The sixth unit of the plant was announced by the UPA government in August 2013. which should not have happened. and commissioning the unit in March 2017.  NTPC had said the accident happened when hot flue gases and steam escaped from an opening in the boiler following a sudden abnormal sound. CAUSES  The explosion took place at the 500 MW Unit 6 of NTPC’s plant in Unchahar in Rae Bareli district of Uttar Pradesh. and construction started 16 months later in December 2014. . when the workers were trying to clear coal clinkers stuck in the boiler. NTPC sought to make up for the delay in beginning construction by aiming to complete work in 26 months.  The original deadline to commission the unit was December 2016.

NTPC insiders and power sector experts with knowledge of the Unchahar plant who spoke to the Print raised serious questions about the process of commissioning the plant.  There was no pressure in running the unit. 31 March. the NBPPL website cites the completion of the unit as a “historical success”. It had to start on 31 March. Continued…  On 30 March 2017.  R. the unit began commercial generation of power.  Experts raise serious questions However. . refuted questions about whether a rush to complete the project may have led to the accident. group general manager of NTPC Unchahar. Sinha told “The trial was done in August and commercial production started in September. then Union power minister Piyush Goyal told the Lok Sabha that the unit would be complete the next day.  On 30 September.K. and listed possible lapses that could have contributed to the 1 November tragedy. On that day. In fact. Sinha. the unit was synchronised – meaning the power it generated was connected to the supply grid for transmission.

or formal regulatory approval. and other construction work. However. in this case there was a gap of six months. an independent outfit.  Labour contractors in Unchahar told that most of them were deployed by contractors for civil work such as painting.  All infrastructure associated with the unit should be ready before the Central Electricity Authority gives its commercial operation declaration (COD). isolation of boilers. However. Shailendra Dubey. the Lucknow based chairman of the All India Power Engineers Federation. said this indicates “the plant was incomplete” when it was synchronised on 31 March. . The new unit of a thermal power plant normally starts commercial production two months after synchronisation. there were 311 workers at the sixth unit on 1 November when the explosion took place.  A boiler in a unit needs less than half-a-dozen workers to operate it.

36 pm. . the sixth unit was running even as the workers tried to remove the large clinkers. However.  The sixth unit is also suspected to have reported problems in the run-up to the accident. The unit has to be shut down for clinkers to be removed from the boiler.  Two of the three AGMs died of their injuries and the third is on ventilator support. “Twenty metres in the boiler means almost 60 per cent of the boiler was packed. The unit tripped twice on 1 November.  Tripping indicates that the unit was overloaded and had to be shut down.  Three NTPC assistant general managers were present at the unit along with casual workers who were trying to remove clinkers that had gone up to a height of 20m in the boiler.30 pm and then at 3. first at 12. seconds before the explosion.

 Multiple teams of NTPC and experts from equipment manufacturer BHEL are analysing the cause of the incidence. NTPC’s response  NTPC has called the accident an “uncommon and rarest of failure” and promised a probe report within 30 days. .  An expert committee of top company executives would rigorously examine each and every possible cause of the incident which led to the failure of the economiser section in the boiler resulting in the exhaust of flue gases.


1923 to ensure safety of life and protection of property. .  Transparent regulations.  Periodic inspection to ensure the safety. Ethical Issues  Lack of regulation of Indian Boiler Act.  The safety and welfare of workers and public at large can not be compromised.  Self certification is unfair.  Compromise with quality of the equipment and the fuel used. safety in work space.  Warning signals about problems in the boiler ignored and brushed under the carpet.  The accident shows lack of responsibility on the part of the NTPC unit personnel involved in the inspection and safety measures. rigorous approach to accident reporting.  Underscore the importance of inspection and protocols for hazardous industrial operations.

 Minor accidents and near misses to be reported immediately to the higher authorities to take necessary and preventing actions in due time.  Naming and shaming in this process must be avoided.  Automisation must always be duly checked by competent persons manually at required intervals. Suggestions to avoid such accidents  Continuous internal and external assessment to keep the management and workforce accountable at all the times.  Any accident of such nature must be investigated by external authorities and not merely an internal inquiry. .

25. RESPONSE FROM GOVERMENT  The Uttar Pradesh state government offered cash compensation of Rs. 200.D. Union Power Ministry has set up a committee headed by P. Siwal.000 to those who sustained minor injuries  India's Minister of Power R. 2 million ex gratia for the next of kin of those killed in the accident  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a statement said that he was "deeply pained by the accident at the NTPC plant in Raebareli" He further added that. based near the town of Unchahar . May the injured recover quickly  The situation is being closely monitored and officials are ensuring normalcy "  The National Human Rights Commission of India served a notice to the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government over the death of more than 30 people in the blast.000 ($4. demanding an immediate high-level probe into its cause  The UP government ordered a magisterial inquiry by a two-member technical team to determine the cause of the blast within seven days  On 6 November 2017. K. Singh announced Rs.015) to the families of the deceased. "my thoughts are with the bereaved families.000 for the severely injured and Rs. Member of Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to investigate the causes of this accident and suggest measures to prevent such incidents in future  The firm has launched an investigation into the blast at the plant. Rs. 50.


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