[QODLink]
Europe

Huge explosion hits Kosovo power plant

Blast at coal-fired plant outside capital Pristina kills at least two people and threatens electricity supplies.

Last updated: 07 Jun 2014 01:14
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Kosovo had to import 250 megawatt-hours of power to make up for shortages after the blast [EPA]

A huge explosion inside Kosovo's second-biggest power plant has killed at least two people and damaged nearby houses, officials have said.

The 40-year-old Kosovo A plant was shut down following Friday's blast that was heard in the capital, Pristina, about 10km away.

The explosion threatened electricity supplies in a country already plagued by blackouts. Power imports were increased to
cover demand.

"We have found two bodies," Edmond Nulleshi, a manager at the Kosovo's Energy Corporation (KEK), told Reuters news agency.

A black plume of smoke could be seen rising from the coal-fired plant, as ambulances ferried the injured to hospitals. Police sealed off the area, fearing more explosions could follow.

"The explosion was so strong that I thought it was an earthquake," an injured engineer with a bandaged head told local television from his hospital bed.

Power shortages

A government official told the Associated Press that authorities believe the blast was caused during a botched replacement of hydrogen canisters used for cooling generators.

The Kosovo A plant has a capacity of 449 mega watt. It produces more than 30 percent of electricity in Kosovo.

The facility is considered one of Europe's worst polluters, and is expected to be closed by 2017.

Kosovo Energy Distribution and Supply Company KEDS said Kosovo had to import 250 megawatt-hours of power to make up for shortages after the blast struck the plant.

Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci, visited the site of the explosion, which came just days before the country's general election.

In the wake of the accident, Kosovo's main political parties suspended campaigning for the poll.

255

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.