By Maria Antouna
VASSILIKOS power station is back to full operation, two years after the July 11, 2011 explosion at the nearby Mari Naval Base which almost destroyed the plant and caused rolling power cuts.
According to EAC Spokesman Costas Gavrielides, all five units are in full operation. “The station is fully functional, everything has been repaired,” he said.
Gavrielides said that all units had been repaired and provisions had been made for future use of natural gas.
When the explosion occurred, Unit 5 was still under construction and had a separate insurance policy. The unit however has now been completed.
Units 4 and 5, Gavrielides said are made up of three engines – two turbines with 75MW capacity each and a steam unit that produces a further 70MWt making each unit produce a total of 220MW.
Repairs began on Unit 5 when turbines were installed in June and July 2012 while a steam unit was installed in November last year. In Unit 4, the engines were installed around the end of last year and early 2013. Units 1-2-3 are steam units which produce 130MW each.
Asked what has changed at Vassilikos, Gavrielides said that Units 1-2-3 which use fuel oil can now also use natural gas. Units 4 and 5 were originally scheduled to run on natural gas.
He said that instructions given by the state in 2008 were that investments be made for natural gas and for this reason almost €500 million had been spent.
Gavrielides said repairs cost a total of €165 million, which was far less than the €300 million to €700 million estimated by the relevant EU committee.
“We have received almost all of the repair costs back from insurance” he said.
Gavrielides said that a desalination plant at Vassilikos was also ready. Planning began in 2009 after an agreement between the EAC and the Water Development Department, and construction began in July 2010. Israel’s IDE Technologies LTD carried out the construction.
On July 15, the plant ran a credibility test which lasted 15 days and was successful as 875,000 cubic metres of desalinated water was produced valued at €720,000. The water was directed to the Southern Conveyor Project.
The unit will have the capacity to produce 63,000 tones of water per day and will be set on standby. The inauguration of the plant will take place soon.
The Mari explosion destroyed almost everything that had been constructed at Vassilikos until that time. Due to discussions with the insurance company and the clearing of debris from the disaster area, repair work could not begin before the end of 2011.
Thirteen people were killed in the blast at the Evangelos Florakis naval base. (CNA)