The Electric Corporation of Ecuador (Celec) announced that it will take legalaction against the inspection company of the Coca-Codo Sinclair HydroelectricPower Plant, for generating possible damages and losses to the State.
After yesterday, Tuesday 20 November 2018, a tour of this hydroelectric plant,Gonzalo Uquillas, general manager of the Celec, reported that “we are notsatisfied with the results” of the work carried out by the CFE-Pypsa-CVA-ICA audit company .
This firm, in charge of the management and supervision of the Coca-Codo Sinclair project, was the one that recommended to the previous government the provisional reception of phases one and two of this work.
This happened despite the fact that in this work the presence of cracks in the water distributors had been noticed in 2014. That is, before the start of the Coca-Codo hydroelectric plant.
Distributorsare teams that withstand high pressures of falling water before it reaches the turbines. To resolve the presence of defects, in August 2014, representatives of the CFE-Pypsa-CVA-ICA inspection company and the construction company Sinohydro signed a document to establish a methodology to repair the faults.
Thisprocedure was approved one month later, on September 23, 2014. During thefissure repair process in Unit 3, more faults were detected. Even, these werein a factory welding. One of them was 38 cm long and 2 cm deep, according tothe report of the inspector of this hydroelectric plant. This caused a climateof “distrust” in the inspector, because the reports on the factory testsdid not report any abnormality.
For this reason, the firm invited Sinohydro to a meeting on November 11, 2014, and requested that tests be carried out on all the factory welds of the distributors. Despite all this, on November 12, 2014 the concreting of the distributors was completed. Carlos Pérez, Minister of Energy, said days ago that it was an “error” to have accepted these materials and equipment before the final installation and the placement of the concrete.
By the state in which this power plant is currently located, Celec considered onTuesday that possible damages have been caused by the possible delays caused bynot finding a solution for the defects that have been presented in this plant.The initial price for the control of Coca-Codo Sinclair was USD 73 million.
But theamount ended in 135 million, according to the draft report read by officials of the Comptroller General of the State (CGE) on this project, the previous week.Coca-Codo came into operation in November 2016. But in this have been identified defects that have even been ratified by the Comptroller. In this document, the control body ratified the existence of 7 648 cracks in the water distributors. This problem occurred, according to the CGE, because Sinohydroused non-approved materials to build the eight distributors, and did not apply technical procedures to weld the faults identified in 2014.
This has forced the contractor to repair these failures in 2015 and the 2018. It was also evidenced, according to the Comptroller’s Office, that there are greater wear than those established in the warranty on the impellers of units 4 and 6.The impellers are a kind of blades that turn the turbines with the force ofwater and then generate energy.
Regarding the faults in the distributors, Sinohydro informed that the materials comply with the standards established in the contract. “The Q500D material is qualified by the Asme standard.” But the construction company acknowledged that the cracks could have been presented by a possible “problem” in the procedures and control made in the factory.
To finda solution to this project, Sinohydro hired the German firm TÜV SÜV. Thisprocess of evaluation and diagnosis will begin in December and will take oneyear. It will cost USD 1 million. At the same time, Celec will hire a company to audit the process carried out by the German firm, in order to give greater reliability to the results.
Duringthe tour of the powerhouse, Celec authorities entered the ball valve of Unit 8.This piece is what allows the passage of water to distributors. In the interiorof this structure it was explained that the distributors have a thick nessbetween 60 and 30 millimeters. And the depth of the fissures, on the other hand, is around 2 millimeters.
Therefore, according to Uquillas, there is no risk in the operation.
Last week, the Comptroller General of the State signed with the distributors of the power station, areas that support great pressures by the fall of water beforeit arrives at the turbines, have fissures and microcracks.
The core part of the draft report that the Comptroller read last week refers to the 7,648 failures in the distributors, which are critical areas and that withstand high water pressures. Materials.
According to the control body there are welding problems in the distributors. Inaddition, the construction company used non-approved materials to build theeight distributors. Rodetes Detachment of a protective layer that has the impellers of the turbines of units 4 and 6. Non-compliance. According to the Comptroller, Sinohydro, the Chinese firm in charge of building the work, hasnot addressed 171 defects in the hydroelectric power station. (I)