Turbine rotors fall off barge

16 October 2008

[Canadian Press, 16 October; globeandmail.com, 16 October] Crossing the Atlantic was no problem, but the harbour at St John, New Brunswick, proved trickier for two turbine rotors destined for the Point Lepreau nuclear power station in the Canadian province. The two 107 tonne rotors, manufactured by Siemens in the UK, were due to be installed at the plant as part of a C$1.4 billion ($1.3 billion) refurbishment that will add 25 years to the plant's operating life. Initial reports that the barge onto which the rotors were being loaded had capsized have been refuted in the press by Irving Equipment, the company in charge of the transport. It now appears that the barge tipped while the second rotor was being loaded, sending both rotors and a heavy-lift transporter to the harbour bottom. Efforts are now underway to salvage the rotors, although the likely effects of their sojourn under 10m of water have still to be ascertained. According to plant operator New Brunswick Power, a contingency plan to carry on using the plant's old rotors should mean that the refurbishment, due for completion by the end of September 2009, will not be derailed.