The unit had suffered breakdowns several times

The third unit of the Tuticorin Thermal Power Station was shut down on Wednesday for maintenance, according to Chief Engineer of TTPS, S. Valliappan.

To resolve issues of frequent breakdowns in the unit, maintenance would be taken up for 35 days. After finalising the tender, approval was given to technical experts from a Nagpur-based company to take up the task at a cost of Rs.6 crore.

Over 600 water wall tubes, which the engineers had deemed them old and weak in the intense heat zone of the suspended unit, would be replaced with new tubes.

Citing it a major work in the TTPS, the Chief Engineer said the dismantling of the weak tubes had commenced and the new tubes would be erected after welding and conducting a hydraulic test, accordingly.

Meanwhile, Mr. Valliappan said a team of technical engineers had been to Nagpur to monitor the manufacturing of the required equipment.

The manufactured tubes were expected to be despatched in batches from Nagpur for the replacement. Since power crisis was unpredictable in the recent days, delivery of replacement equipment is expected at the earliest.

With the suspension under way, the TTPS would witness a production shortfall of 210 megawatt. Power production from the third unit, which is under suspension now, came to a halt on several occasions over the last two months.

The third unit had suffered breakdowns on five occasions so far in the current month and on four occasions during the last month, owing to punctures in the boiler tube caused by ash.

He said the boiler tubes at TTPS were primarily designed to handle domestic coal, which contains 40 to 42 per cent ash compared to imported coal which has an ash content of 8 per cent. Power generation relied on 25 per cent imported coal and 75 per cent of the indigenous variety. Every year, major overhauling would be taken up in one of the five units each with a capacity of 210 mw and at the same time the suspension should not affect the supply to the grid. Except the third unit, he said, production from other four units was in full swing.