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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-08-02

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    EUCPs (European Union Civil Protection) worst-case scenario is that the damage at Vasiliko Power Plant, from the naval base blast on July 11, amounts to approximately 700 million euro. The figure is however provisional mainly because the EUCP team who visited Cyprus after the blast and assessed the situation, was not able to test the equipment that survived the blast.

    Following the explosion, an 11-member EU civil protection team the biggest civil protection expert team so far deployed within Europe- was deployed to Cyprus to assist in assessing the damage. The team prepared a detailed reported handed to Cyprus Interior Minister. The report was made public on Tuesday and was posted on EUCPs web site.

    According to the report, the timeframe for the restoration of operation, the severely damaged units 1-3 would require roughly 22-28 months, whereas other units less severely damaged could be back in operation earlier.

    The experts estimate that is it possible to have a supply of 38MW within 2-3 months from Vasiliko plant and when unit 5 is reactivated, the system will be supplied with a further 150MW, however a period of 6 months is needed for this to happen.

    As regards the fire protection, according to the report, the fire protection system is inoperative due to damage to the fire main at the entrance of the structures. All fire pumps are inoperative but appear undamaged. Most of the main fire system is likely to be repairable within a short period of time by isolating damaged parts, replacing fire pump fuel pipes and establishing a temporary supply to the auxiliary fire pump.

    In relation to safety and security, investigation and measurements of radioactive levels at the naval base and the immediate surrounding area as well as the area of the power station showed no increased level of radiation. According to the report, sampling of the soil and analysis did not indicate the presence of uranium. Furthermore, the monitoring of the air quality did not show any concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide or particulate matter (PM10) higher than the respective limit levels. The teams security experts considered the risk of unexploded ordnance (UXO) as low.

    According to the report, inside the buildings the exposure to dust is much higher and will increase as soon as cleanup and restoration work starts. It is indicated that personal protective equipment is highly recommended especially in the buildings. For those areas where access is possible and in order to avoid any future contamination due to cleanup and restoration work, chemicals should be removed.

    EUCPs report gives an overview of the situation, noting that on July 13, the Cypriot Civil Protection authorities activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and requested for a Team to be deployed on the ground. Cyprus also requested mobile power generating capacity and on July 28 a massive package of 129 heavy containers equal to 70 MW electricity power have been transported from Greece. The transport cost will be co-financed by the Commission with an amount of 1 million euro.

    Thirteen people were killed and dozens were injured when a massive explosion occurred at the naval base, Evangelos Florakis, near Limassol, on the southern coast, in the early hours of July 11th. The blast badly damaged the islands main power plant, at Vasiliko, resulting in daily power cuts.

    The blast occurred in containers, full of munitions, which Cyprus had confiscated from ``Monchegorsk``, a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009. Nicosia was acting in accordance with UN sanctions against Teheran.


    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu continued Tuesday their talks on the issue of governance and power-sharing in the context of the intensified phase of UN-led direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking after the meeting that lasted almost five and a half hours, UN Secretary General`s Special Advisor on Cyprus, Alexander Downer said that the leaders spent a fairly long amount of time today focusing on the issue of governance and power-sharing.

    Leaders did discuss governance and power-sharing, and they will be meeting again on Friday (5 August) in a similar format. And well take up from where weve left off today and focus on governance and power-sharing, he said.

    Downer reiterated that the UN consider that the less is said publicly about what happens in the discussions the more the chance is of having a degree of success in the negotiations. These are very difficult negotiations, as we all know. We need to make sure that they are conducted in a way that maximizes the opportunity for reaching agreement. With that in mind we try to keep the contents of the discussion at this stage, during this intensive stage, as confidential as possible; thats a very important component of the process, he said.

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