A section officer and a technician died on impact after a main inlet valve inside the powerhouse burst from extreme water pressure at the Tala Hydropower Project Authority in Chukha on January 20. The incident, which occurred around 11:20am, also injured two other employees.

However, the employees were discharged from the hospital the same day after they were kept for observation, Druk Green Power Corporation, Managing Director (MD), Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said.

The main inlet valve is the spherical valve, which is installed before water enters the spiral casing of the hydro turbine.

Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said that the four employees were somewhere around the valve pipe area and not directly on the line of water impact when the incident occurred. “The deceased died because of the water pressure impact created by the blast.”

He said that investigation is still on – going to determine the cause of the failure of the pipe. It is expected to take few more days.

“We were able to switch off the water in 80 seconds after the incident. However, the incident did not have any effect on the generation of power,” he said. The pipeline failed even though water pressure is constantly monitored by the project.

The project is also checking each component of both the Unit 1 and Unit 2 generators for any possible damages although no physical destruction have been found yet.

The MD said they would be replacing the pipes soon. This is the second time such an incident occurred at the project. No casualty was reported in the first incident.

Yangchen C Rinzin