Georgia Power: Workplace errors caused Bowen blast
by Neil B. McGahee
May 03, 2013 | 3638 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia Power’s internal investigation into the explosion that rocked Bartow County’s Plant Bowen on April 4 revealed that workers did not comply with procedures and did not communicate properly, spokesman John Kraft said.

“Unit 2 was already off-line and was being prepared for maintenance,” Kraft said. “A multi-step procedure to purge hydrogen from the generator was underway, but the process used didn’t comply with procedures and there was a communications breakdown.”

The mistakes caused the combustible mix of hydrogen and air inside the generator to explode, injuring three people and shutting down two of the plant’s four units. Units 1 and 2 remain closed.

The blast, which was strong enough to rattle windows miles away, caused significant damage to the control room for Units 1 and 2 as well as the switchyard where electricity is converted into the proper voltage before being transported.

Kraft said Georgia Power is still assessing the incident and there has been no disciplinary action taken.

“All operations, safety and maintenance procedures and processes will be assessed,” Kraft said, “and [we will] enhance our safety procedures as necessary. We take safety very seriously.”

Kraft noted that Georgia Power recorded no safety issues at Plant Bowen between 2007-2010 and no major violations have been recorded at the power plant since that time.