Skip to comments.Explosion reported at Plant Bowen (GA Power)
Posted on 04/04/2013 3:12:05 PM PDT by higgmeister
An explosion has been reported at Georgia Power Plant Bowen. Injuries have been reported via scanner traffic, number and extent are unknown. The source of the explosion is believed to be a turbine within the powerhouse.
Read more: The Daily Tribune News - Explosion reported at Plant Bowen
I did some work there. Not many homes nearby. A little village a mile down the road, otherwise fields. They were very paranoid in the late 90’s about security. This was the only plant (including a nuclear plant) that thoroughly searched me and my truck. Also made calls to veriy my work there. I never found out why.
At 3,499 megawatts, Plant Bowen has the largest generating capacity of any coal-fired power plant in North America since the partial shutdown of Ontario Power Generation’s Nanticoke Generating Station in Canada. Wikipedia®
A turbine failure at 3600 RPM would be no fun. If the blades breach the outer shell, there would be an immediate release of energy in the form of thermal energy and the danger of scalding or lacerations by flying debris in the immediate vicinity high. Prayers for the injured.
The turbines would be housed withing the main building. The towers associated with the power plant are evaporative cooling towers and are probably not involved in a turbine excursion.
A steam turbine on a USN destroyer received a “slug” of water from the boiler instead of the required steam. The resultant “explosion” (actually, the blades broken from the rapidly spinning turbine, after being hit by water instead of steam) threw blades out a velocity which carried them from the engine room up through four steel decks.
A lot of energy is in those spinning turbines!
There was an accident at the G-E LSTG plant in Schenectady long ago; I think it was in the '60s. What failed was an alternator rotor, not a turbine. It failed at 3600 RPM, and pieces of the rotor burst out of the test housing. Three were killed, and (if memory serves) one body was never found.
One man was on top of the housing looking at a meter when it happened.
5:35 P.M. UPDATE - WYXC-AM reporter John Underwood says that the explosion took place in a cooling tower. There are reports that there are holes in the cooling towers.
Some people nearby said that airbags in their vehicles near the plant were set off by the explosion.
There have been no reports of casualties.
Buildup of some flammable gas inside the tower finds an ignition source?
Some gas that's used in water treatment, maybe?
Whole lotta volume in those things. That concrete is pretty thin in places. The strength is in the top and bottom rings.
The alternator rotor is coupled to the main turbine but is not in direct contact with the steam path and therefore the housing is not as resistant. The speed is, of course, the same and therefore a tremendous amount of mechanical energy spinning that. Without more details everything is speculative.
Stepping away for a few to get real work done before the end of the day. Be back later on. For full disclosure, I own some Southern Company stock.
At this point there is no indication the cooling towers were the source of the accident but only the target of debris. There is probably no gas build-up in a cooling tower however they did a modification last year in which they are using less water through a thermosyphon cooler. How this works I am unsure at this time.
Well, the alternator housing is not a pressure vessel that's true, but there's a steel stator laminations and heavy copper bars a two or three feet thick surrounding the rotor on all sides.
The turbine housing on the other hand is made of high-grade steel and is a couple of inches thick. On the other hand, those low pressure blades are close to five feet long and weigh on the order of a hundred pounds each. One of those suckers flies off at 3600 rpm and you've got a problem.
The alternator rotors are solid steel, three or four feet in diameter (for 3600 rpm anyway). They weigh something like fifty or sixty tons.
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