ROURKELA: In the second major breakdown in Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) in a month, an explosion in its new blast furnace-V (BF-V) left one worker injured late Tuesday night.
Sources in RSP said the inlet pipe of Stove-I of the new blast furnace exploded at about 9 pm Tuesday. A worker who was present near the unit fell conscious from shock.
Installed just three years ago, the blast furnace is one of the largest in the country, with a daily hot metal production capacity of 8,000 tonnes.
The management of RSP has not put out a statement yet, but sources in the company spoke of losses in the range of Rs 700 crore due to the breakdowns.
Back in May, the same blast furnace, BF-V, suffered production loss for 15 days after blowers failed and jammed 36 tuyeres
In Tuesday night's incident, three interconnected stoves, including the defunct one, carry mixed gases for converting them into the high-pressure hot air before injecting it into the blast furnace for producing hot metal. The isolation valve of Stove-1 failed which resulted in damaging the cables and subsequently jammed all 36 tuyeres and blow pipes.
H S Bal, general secretary of the RSP’s recognized trade union, Rourkela Ispat Karkhana Karmachari Sangh (RIKKS), alleged that inferior quality of equipment, instruments and poor workmanship were responsible for the frequent breakdowns of BF-V and the New Plate Mill (NPM). Restoration may take five to six days, he said.
At NPM, daily production capacity was reduced to 3,000 tonne following the malfunctioning of the third imported Klein Schanzlin & Becker (KSB)-made de-scaling pump.
Sources say the financial implications of the breakdowns would be a whopping Rs 600 crore to Rs 700 crore in Q1 due to production losses. Depreciation and interest servicing would account for about Rs 318 crore.
The state-of-the-art new BF-V and NPM units were built at a cost of Rs 3,500 crore and Rs.2,000 crore respectively and started operations in 2014 under an umbrella Rs 12,000 crore modernization and expansion projects.
A consortium of global firms including Danieli Corus and Tata Project Ltd built BF-V, while Danieli, Tata and Simplex were involved in the construction of NPM.
The BF-IV, which was set up in the 1950s, worked without a major breakdown till the first modernization in the 1990s and continues to work till now.