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Incident at UK Energy from Waste plant causes 20 minor casualties

20 March 2014

On March 19 a “small explosion” at the Keppel Seghers energy from waste power plant at Runcorn in Cheshire led to around 20 staff being hospitalised with eye irritation and respiratory problems. All of the affected staff members had been released from hospital within 6 hours of arrival.

The Keppel Seghers plant in Runcorn - Photo: Viridor
The Keppel Seghers plant in Runcorn - Photo: Viridor

A spokesman for Cheshire Police said: “At 1pm today police received reports of an incident at Keppel Seghers. While carrying out work on the site a number of workmen have come into contact with a substance, which has caused irritation to the eyes and respiratory problems. A number of people were taken to Warrington Hospital in works vehicles where they are currently being assessed.

The plant, which started operating recently, is run by Viridor and will supply the neighbouring IneosChlor chemical plant with up to 20% of its energy.

A spokesman for Viridor said: "Viridor confirms that at approximately 10.45am today there was a spillage of Air Pollution Control Residue (mainly hydrated lime) at the Runcorn Energy from Waste (EfW) Plant. The spillage occurred during the current commissioning phase of the plant by Keppel Seghers, the managing contractor on the site.

"The spillage has been contained and covers a very small localised area of the site. Hydrated lime, an odourless white powder, is used as part of the air pollution control process and is deemed as an irritant to eyes and skin.

"All other contractors are continuing to work on site whilst the incident is dealt with. A full investigation will be conducted.”

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