Nine workers injured after Olkaria power plant steam pipe bursts

Olkaria 1 power substation in Naivasha. [Standard]
Operations at the Olkaria power plant in Naivasha were disrupted for hours yesterday after a steam pipe under construction burst, seriously injuring nine workers.

The incident at Olkaria V Unit I plant could derail plans by the Kenya Electricity Generating (KenGen) company to add an extra 83.3MW to the national grid by end of the year.

Two of the workers from H-Young Company, which has been contracted to construct the plant, were in critical condition.

The workers were testing steam pressure in the multi-million shilling plant when it blew up.

The injured were taken to a Naivasha hospital while two others were referred to Nairobi for specialised treatment.

The incident left the other workers in fear over their safety as KenGen and the contractor safety teams moved in to inspect the scene.

According to one of the workers who declined to be named, there was a bang after one of the pipes burst.

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He claimed there were warnings from the system that there was too much pressure on the steam pipes but they were ignored.

“There was a warning siren and those involved took too long to shut off the system before one of the pipes blew up, spilling the hot steam and crushing into other objects,” he said.

An engineer from H-Young Company who is no authorised to speak to the media said investigation into the incident had begun.

“We had a small accident. There is nothing to get worried about,” he said.

When contacted on the telephone, KenGen CEO Rebecca Miano said she was in a meeting with some electricity producers but said that their communication team would issue a statement later.

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Olkaria power plantNaivashaSteam pipeKenGenH-Young CompanyNaivasha hospital