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Explosion, fire occur at thermal power plant in central Japan

02 February 2024

An explosion resulted in a fire breaking out at the Taketoyo thermal power station in Aichi prefecture, central Japan on 31 January. The 1,070 MW plant is operated by Japan’s largest utility JERA, a joint venture between TEPCO Fuel & Power and Chubu Electric Power.

The conveyor belt where the fire broke out - Image: JERA
The conveyor belt where the fire broke out - Image: JERA

All operations at the plant were stopped after smoke was detected at around 15:14 local time, JERA said in a statement. A fire was confirmed to have broken out on a belt conveyor used for transporting coal and woody biomass. Officials later confirmed that no one was injured during the incident and that all workers were accounted for.

The local fire department was notified and arrived at the scene soon after when attempts began to extinguish the blaze. The fire was brought under control after a couple of hours before being extinguished at around 20:00 local time. At around 02:40, a fire broke out again on the conveyor belt which firefighters managed to extinguish after a couple of hours.

On 2 February, JERA said it had completed a series of emergency inspections and confirmed that no abnormalities were detected in the system equipment. As part of the inspections, JERA said it had checked for abnormalities in mechanical equipment that could be a source of ignition (electric motors, reducers, rollers, etc.), visually inspected and confirmed that there are no abnormal noises, confirmed that the filter of the dust collector was not clogged, and confirmed that there was no significant accumulation of dust around a series of biomass fuel system equipment. In addition, JERA said it would proceed with systematic cleaning of areas where a slight accumulation of dust has been observed.

JERA added that the Taketoyo Thermal Power Station will be thoroughly investigated to ensure that such a fire accident will never occur again. The company has also established an accident investigation committee regarding the fire accident at the power plant.

This committee is chaired by Tetsuya Watanabe, Executive Vice President and Executive Officer of the Company, with the participation of Professor Ichiro Naruse of Nagoya University as an outside expert to utilise objective and professional knowledge and is based on a thorough investigation and analysis.

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