The Vassiliko Power Station is in full operation, two years after the 11 July 2011 explosion at the nearby Mari Naval Base which almost destroyed the island’s largest infrastructure project and resulted in the complete suspension of its operations.

According to EAC Spokesman Costas Gavrielides, all five units are in full operation and do not have any sign of the 2011 blast consequences. “The station is fully functional, everything has been repaired”, he added.

Gavrielides also said that all units have been repaired and provisions have been made for natural gas to be used.

When the explosion occurred, Unit 5 was still under construction and had a separate insurance policy. The unit however has now been completed and is in operation, further upgrading the station’s capabilities, he told CNA.

Units 4 and 5, Gavrielides explained, are made up of three engines – two turbines with 75 megawatt capacity each and a steam unit that produces a further 70 megawatt making each unit produce a total of 220 megawatt.

Repairs began from Unit 5 when turbines were installed in June and July 2012 while a steam unit was installed in November last year. In Unit 4, the engines were installed around the end of last year and early 2013.

Units 1-2-3 are steam units which produce 130 megawatt each.

Regarding the Moni station which is set to ‘standby’ and will only operate, if needed, to cover unforeseen incidents, Gavrielides said that the station helped right after the 2011 disaster and if necessary, it can operate again for a specific period.

Asked what has changed at the Vassiliko power station, Gavrielides said that Units 1-2-3 which use fuel oil can also use natural gas. Units 4 and 5 were originally scheduled to run on natural gas.

He said that instructions given by the state in 2008 were that investments be made for natural gas and for this reason almost 500 million euros have been spent.

Gavrielides said repairs cost a total of 165 million euros, which is far less than the 300-700 million euros estimated by the relevant EU committee.

“We have received almost all of the repair cost back from insurance” he added.

Gavrielides said that Desalination Plant at Vassilikos Power station is also ready. Planning began in 2009 after an agreement between the EAC and the Water Development Board and construction began in July 2010. The Israeli IDE Technologies LTD had carried out the construction.

The Mari explosion destroyed almost everything that had been constructed by then. Due to discussions with the insurance company and the clearing of debris from the disaster area, repair work could not begin before the end of 2011.

On 15 July 2013, the plant ran a credibility test which lasted 15 days and was successful as 875,000 cubic metres of desalinated water was produced valued at 720,000 euros. The water was directed to the Southern Conveyor Project.

The unit will have the capacity to produce 63,000 tones of water per day and will be set on standby. The inauguration of the plant will take place soon.

Thirteen people were killed by a huge blast, following a massive explosion at the Naval Base “Evangelos Florakis”, near Limassol, on Monday, July 11, 2011.

The blast caused extensive damage to nearby Vassiliko power plant, leading to power shortage all over Cyprus. Communities in close proximity where also hit, while Mari village suffered most of the damage.

The blast occurred in containers, full of munitions, which Cyprus had confiscated from “Monchegorsk”, a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009, complying with UN sanctions against Iran.

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