Malta power station decommissioning in early planning stages
By Lindsay Gale22 July 2011
Enemalta Corporation - the state-owned energy utility giant responsible for generating and providing electricity to the Maltese islands - has begun planning for the future.
Specialist UK-based engineering consultancy RVA Group is currently supporting Enemalta in its review and assessment of two existing power stations - Marsa (MPS) and Delimara (DPS) - as part of the company's strategy to update their electricity generation technology.
Beginning with the preparation of outline plant decommissioning, this initial phase of work comprises of a monitoring programme and a waste management plan is to be devised as a result.
As MPS is expected to be phased out by 2015, the RVA team must go a step further and develop a full decommissioning plan for this plant with recommendations as to the most suitable de-planting options, associated dismantling and demolition techniques and finally the civil works required to reinstate the site ready for subsequent use. A detailed safety management programme will underpin the entire strategy document.
RVA managing director Richard Vann explained: "As with any decommissioning project there are numerous factors to consider, which is why it is important to undertake extensive investigative work before a recommended plant decommissioning plan is prepared. There can never be a 'one size fits all' approach. On this particular project we have to think about the removal and dismantling in the most cost-effective way of all mechanical and electrical equipment and the structures themselves."
"This client is keen to ensure best practice from day one, therefore it is crucial that every risk is assessed and every opportunity explored."
RVA's plans - which are to be submitted to the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) for approval - will detail how, in what sequence and over what period of time this project should be pursued, together with an estimate of the resources required, security protocols and the costs involved. The authorised, plans will form the basis for decommissioning implementation at the appropriate time.
Martin Attard-Montalto, division manager at Enemalta, commented: "We know we are going to need additional generation capacity in the coming years, but we have recognised the need to replace some of our outdated technology with more efficient plant. This will not only ensure legislative compliance but will significantly reduce primary fuel consumption and subsequent emissions.
"We appointed RVA following a rigorous tendering process, on the basis of their specialist expertise and proven independent experience within the field of planning for power station decommissioning. It is important that Enemalta makes not only the safest, but also the most environmentally and commercially sound decisions going forward, so this guidance and much-needed insight will allow us to progress in this manner."
RVA has undertaken similar projects in the past - for example asset and liability assessments and baseline decommissioning plans have been carried out previously for both Magnox and British Energy, and the RVA team has recently completed detailed front end engineering support to EDP, for their power plant demolition project in Barreiro, Portugal.
Enemalta's current power generation technology is expected to be replaced by a new plant at Delimara and by submarine interconnection to the European grid.