Explosion at coal-fired Plant Bowen attributed to worker error

The generator explosion that rocked Georgia Power’s coal-fired Plant Bowen in early April appears to be the result of worker error, a spokesman for the utility told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

According to the article, Georgia Power has concluded the first part of its internal investigation and is attributing the blast to an explosive mix of hydrogen and air inside of one of the plant’s generator units. The company spokesman said Georgia Power has determined a breakdown in staff communication and a failure to comply with procedure is what set the stage for the accident.

In the mid-afternoon on April 4, a blast occurred at Georgia Power’s Plant Bowen as the Unit 2 generator was being taken offline for a scheduled maintenance outage. No serious injuries were reported, but there was significant damage to the control rooms for Units 1 and 2.  

Immediately following the event all units were taken offline at the power station, but Units 3 and 4 have since been returned to service.

Georgia Power said its investigation is still ongoing. OSHA is engaged in its own investigation and has yet to release any findings.

Plant Bowen is located northwest of Atlanta, and is one of the largest generating facilities in Georgia Power's system, with a rated power output of more than 3,000 megawatts from its four generating units.

Georgia Power is a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. Georgia Power serves 2.4 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties.

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