Our Engineers are used to working in some tricky and tight situations whether that’s maintaining our 10km overhead lines or connecting new circuits to our 800 or so substations. But last week they embarked on a once-in-a-decade task of preparing the gas-oil storage tanks situated beneath the car park at the rear of the Powerhouse for cleaning and inspection.
Twenty interconnected tanks, holding 60,000 litres of gas-oil each, will eventually be drained, power-washed and the welds and bodywork closely inspected for any abnormal wear, tear and corrosion. The tanks support the two gas turbines at Queen’s Road that can produce up to 45MW of power instantly in the event of an emergency or severe interruption to our imported supplies.
It is the first time in 10 years this comprehensive inspection work has been undertaken and the Engineers involved: Patrick Le Vaillant, Tim Eouzan, Ruben Santos, Peter Denton, Mark Riley and Nigel Kemish have been specifically Confined Space High Risk trained and have prepared meticulously for it. Working in a three-man team, one man is secured to a winch while colleagues, always in sight of each other, make their way through the long passages alongside the tanks to check pressure levels and isolation valves in order to produce the mandatory safety documentation. They are equipped with emergency breathing apparatus which would give them 10 minutes to escape if air quality alarms activated.
To maintain the emergency standby generation capacity of the gas turbines, the fuel tanks will be emptied and inspected in groups of five starting on 4 June when parking restrictions will be in force.