Damage caused by a power interruption

Turbines at a waste incineration plant

Expert witness – acting for the defendant

During construction work at a nearby site, the underground power-output cables from a waste incineration plant were cut by a mechanical excavator, causing an emergency shut-down. The construction company accepted liability for the loss of generation revenue and the cost of alternative waste disposal, but disputed the claim that the steam turbine had had its life shortened by the event.

Mr Brear was instructed to provide technical input to the construction company's defence case, to prepare preliminary statements for the court on the pertinent mechanical and materials issues and to meet with the plaintiff's experts to determine areas of agreement and disagreement.

Mechanical and materials factors were agreed with the plaintiff's experts and a consensus was reached that the shut-down event had been within the design envelope. It was agreed that, though the remaining life of the turbine had been slightly reduced by the incident, it was still far greater than the likely economic life of the plant as a whole. The loss was therefore of no engineering or financial consequence. The plaintiff withdrew this element of their claim.

Plant Integrity