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Highly volatile Indonesian coal caused fire at Mundra UMPP

Fire broken out at site of Mundra ultra mega power project on Nov 14, temporarily affecting electricity generation

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Image via Shutterstock

Tata Power has said the susceptibility of Indonesian coal to spontaneous combustion was the main reason for last month's fire incident at its 4,000 MW Mundra plant, where operations have been normalised.

The fire had broken out at the site of the Mundra ultra mega power project (UMPP) on November 14, temporarily affecting electricity generation.

The plant is operated by Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd (CGPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Power, and is fired with coal imported from Indonesia.

Since Indonesian coal has a high calorific value, it is highly volatile and susceptible to spontaneous combustion, CGPL's Chief Executive Officer K K Sharma said when asked about the cause of the fire.

"Our protective system worked well. The plant is now working nicely," he told PTI.

Without divulging financial details, Sharma said damage due to the fire as well as repair costs were minimal.

The fire occurred in the coal conveyor gallery at the coal-handling plant at CGPL on November 14, Tata Power had said in a regulatory filing on December 6.

"Coal feeding to the plant was impacted due to fire and the repair works that followed. Restoration of the impact of fire on conveyor was achieved on November 20, 2013. The company has processed the insurance claim as per coverage," according to the filing.

The Mundra project, located in Gujarat, has five units, each with 800 MW of generation capacity. Electricity from the plant is supplied to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Haryana and Punjab.

One unit is currently shut due to a technical problem and will become operational in the next few days, according to Sharma, who is also Executive Director at CGPL.

Following the fire incident, measures are being initiated as part of a comprehensive risk review process to strengthen overall monitoring, Sharma said.

Tata Power's overseas presence includes strategic investments in Indonesia through 30% stake in coal mines and a geothermal project.

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First Published: Sun, December 29 2013. 13:26 IST