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Kayamkulam plant grid affected — Bund to keep seawater at bay

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram , March 15

A HIGH-LEVEL meeting of officials convened here by the Chief Minister, Mr A.K. Antony, has decided to initiate crack measures aimed at preventing seawater intrusion into the system that feeds the National Thermal Power Corporation's (NTPC) Kayamkulam thermal power plant.

The Irrigation Department has already commenced work on a temporary bund downstream the Achenkoil River on Monday, according to sources in the Government.

Simultaneously, orders have been issued to raise shutters at the Kallada dam and direct flows in order that the seawater that has already entered the Kayamkulam feed is flushed out. It is expected that these manoeuvres would help clean up the system in three days' time.

It was officially stated that the emergency reserves at the plant would be sufficient to sustain normal generation until March 20.

Among those who attended Monday's meeting were Mr S.S. Mendiratta, General Manager, NTPC Kayamkulam plant, Mr T.M. Manoharan, Chairman, Kerala State Electricity Board, and Mr Gopalakrishna Pillai, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister. Later, Mr Mendiratta also met with the Chief Secretary, Mr N. Chandrasekharan Nair.

Earlier on Sunday, NTPC had said that power generation at the 360-MW plant would have to be stopped in four days for want of fresh water to run the steam turbine.

The plant draws its water requirements from the Achenkoil River at a point in the upper reaches of the low-lying Kuttanad area. Downstream flow in the river had been badly hit due to successive failures of monsoon, leading to saline water intrusion into the Kuttanad backwaters and its river system.

The pumping station supplying fresh water to the plant had to be shut down on Thursday last after ambient salinity crossed tolerable limits. The plant needs 70,000 cubic metres of water every day. It has got two gas turbines of 115 MW capacity each and a 130-MW steam turbine that feeds on the heat generated by the gas turbines.

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