Explosion at 160-MW Silvan Hydroelectric Project in Turkey injures 12 workers

Several local media outlets reported an explosion on April 14, opened a 60 by 45 cm hole in a penstock tunnel being constructed at the Silvan Dam site on the Batman River in Silvan, Diyarbakır Province in southeastern Turkey.

There are no reported fatalities, but the blast injured 12 people causing burns to five workers and an additional seven employees inhaled noxious fumes, according to reports.

The Silvan Dam scheme includes an embankment rock-fill dam, 546 feet in height by 1,529 feet in length, and a 160 MW powerhouse. The project is one of 22 hydro facilities that are part of the Southeastern Anatolia Project.

Initial construction on Silvan Hydroelectric Project began in July 2011 and is expected to be complete in 2016. Reports indicate the purpose of the dam, the 5.5 million acre-feet catchment area and powerhouse is hydroelectric power production and irrigation. The Silvan Reservoir is designed to provide enough water to irrigate an area of 245,000 ha (610,000 acres).

“Teams of the district gendarmerie command and forensics at the scene found a 60 x 45 cm hole in the tunnel and 11 meters in length of double-wire power cable, which the alleged criminals used to explode the tunnel,” according to a statement from the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor.

According to reports, the explosion was the result of gas compression in the tunnel following apparent tampering, officials said.

Diyarbakır officials have launched an investigation, according to the statement.

A statement from the local prosecutors office said, “The cables and soil samples of the blast scene were sent to Diyarbakır Criminal Police Laboratory for examination.”

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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