The executive director of NEC, Martin Georgiev: There is good news for the PSHP Chair

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There is good news for PSHP "Chaira". This was announced by the executive director of the National Electric Company, Martin Georgiev, to journalists after the official ceremony for the rehabilitation of the Sestrimo HPP. He specified that according to the implementation strategy, two parallel decisions are being implemented - one that is currently being implemented by the contractor consortium to change the shape and size of the so-called stator columns, which proved to be the weak point during the tests of hydrounit 4 (ХА4). This is done in hydro unit 2 (ХА2). A team of Toshiba's expert and engineering team is also at PSHP. There is also interest from a number of companies in the activities on hydro unit 4 (ХА4).

"All activities are proceeding according to the time linear schedule and it is expected that by the end of the year, as is the contractor's commitment, one hydro unit will be in operation. So far, we don't have any worrying news or feedback from the artist. There are different teams on different activities that are currently being implemented. The contractor, as well as our employees, are working 24 hours a day in shifts to rehabilitate the electric part, the stator of the hydrogenerator," said Martin Georgiev. As is known, the rehabilitation of XA 2, which began in February this year, is being carried out by the Austrian consortium ABB-Voith.

Georgiev specified that "at the same time, the public order for the replacement of the turbine part of XA4, which expires on June 9, is still ongoing. There are interested companies that have conducted an inspection and that have sent clarifying questions (to NEC)," said Georgiev, reminding that there is time until the deadline and it is not clear how many companies would participate. Without committing to the interest, the NEC executive said only that "they are in the plural".

“Importantly, the decision, that is, part of the recovery decision that applies to XA2 will also apply to XA3. That is, one year later, at the end of 2025, there should already be two completed (hydro units)," said the executive director of NEC.

He specified that for ХА4, the deadline for implementation is 36 months after the signing of the contract, when the public procurement is completed.

A public order is also being prepared for hydro unit 1 (ХА1) for replacement. In parallel, repair options are being considered. Martin Georgiev also stated that at the moment there are experts from the Toshiba plant in Japan at XA1 who are carrying out the so-called site visit and analysis of recovery options.

The repair of ХА2 and 3 is expected to be about 5 million euros for each of them, while for ХА4 – just over 53 million BGN according to the public order (from the beginning of March this year).

As for hydrounit 1 (ХА1), there the decision will depend on what the final decision will be - repair or complete replacement. The executive director of NEC explained that recently there was a meeting of a team from NEC with the management of "Toshiba" in order to strengthen the commitment of the Japanese company to the recovery. "Hopefully, no more than a month from now, we will have a final commitment and feedback from Toshiba" as to "whether or not they will commit." The visit is currently of experts and engineers. They are still assessing whether it is possible to carry out repair work with a faster turnaround time and to a better effect, or whether a complete replacement will be necessary.

Only after there is a response from Toshiba will it become clear what exactly the strategy for XA1 will be - whether it will be implemented by the company or whether it will be a public order, for example. At the same time, the two types of recovery, in the words of Martin Georgiev, are "both with different budgets, and with different scopes and different deadlines."

"We hope no more than a month from now to have a final commitment and feedback from Toshiba whether they will commit or not." Because they are still assessing whether it is possible to carry out such repair works with a faster execution time and with a better effect of course, or whether a complete replacement will be necessary," he specified.

In response to a question about what can be expected as support from the USA, which became clear after the visit of Minister Vladimir Malinov, the executive director of NEC commented that "some of the leading hydropower companies that have built and rehabilitated similar facilities are American companies". and expressed hope that "this project will arouse their interest to participate as contractors", but also as technical assistance in the form of consultations, opinions, exchange of experience.

"For example, last week we had a similar exchange of experience and a visit from the largest Swiss company Axpo. Their hydro generation management was here, we were looking at the cascade, also CHAIRA, and they confirmed that they are very surprised by this accident, that it is atypical," said Georgiev. In this regard and in response to a question, the executive director once again confirmed the version that the accident at Chaira Pavement Plant was due to "metal fatigue".

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