World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Sarawak Energy downplays security risks at mega-dam

Sarawak Energy downplays security risks at mega-dam

07 July 2014

A confidential assessment of the turbines of the Murum Dam reveals severe security issues – Sarawak Energy asked to put safety first and stop all preparation works for further dams

(SARAWAK / MALAYSIA) Late last week, the whistleblower website Sarawak Report uncovered severe security issues at the controversial Murum Dam in Sarawak, Malaysia. A leaked assessment of the turbines of the dam concluded that the “turbine runners are not suitable for installation and operation”.

Norwegian consultancy company Norconsult was asked by Sarawak Energy to assess the turbine runners of the Murum Dam. A ‘runner’ turns the turbine as the blades of the turbine are pushed by the flowing water. The turbine runners at the Murum Dam have cracks and pores and the quality of the welding and grinding is judged as poor according to the assessment. As the defects are located in “high stress areas”, the “defects could likely be the starting point for fatigue cracks”. These cracks in turn could lead to small or catastrophic break downs. Flooding of the power-house and fires are described as possible worst case scenarios in the assessment.

Instead of communicating these security issues after the completion of the assessment in March, Sarawak Energy decided to perform highly unusual repair works at the already installed turbines to cover up the risks. Sarawak Energy’s dam building contractor Three Gorges Development Company is asked to do the repair at the site in order to keep the commissioning schedule on track to the expense of the workers’ safety. Professor Daniel Kammen from the Berkeley University had a look at Norconsult’s findings and Sarawak Energy’s intention to handle the problem at the dam: “I would be totally amazed if it was possible to do a proper alignment in situ. This looks clumsy, I have not seen this type of repair done in such a way before”.

Confronted with the leaked assessment of Norconsult, Sarawak Energy decided to downplay the current security risks at the Murum Dam. Sarawak Energy’s CEO Torstein Dale Sjotveit claimed: “The problems found on the turbine runner are rectifiable” and the Murum Dam “will be completely safe”. This wording clearly confirms that there are serious security issues at the moment.

These problems at the Murum Dam do not only shed a bad light on Sarawak Energy, but also on its engineer adviser Norconsult: In May this year, the anti-dam network SAVE Rivers from Sarawak visited Norconsult’s headquarters in Norway, but were kicked out. Norconsult’s CEO John Nyheim did not want to meet with the dam-affected representatives. He rather helps Sarawak Energy to cover up severe security issues at one of the dams.

The Bruno Manser Fund demands Sarawak Energy and Norconsult to be fully transparent and specifically asks
1) to stop all preparation works for further dams in Sarawak immediately
2) to provide the full assessment on the turbine runners to the public
3) to put the safety of the dam workers and the surrounding communities first and to publicly explain how this can be assured
4) to explain how the discovered problems will affect the long-term performance of the Murum Dam as well as their potential effects on the downstream Bakun Dam.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news