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Nigeria vows to rehabilitate Kainji hydro plant following leaks

ABUJA, Nigeria 3/30/12 (PennWell) -- Recent leaking at Nigeria's Kainji hydroelectric plant has led the country's government to shut the facility down indefinitely and reaffirm its commitment to rehabilitating and improving it, sources report.

The 44-year old Kainji plant was shut down by Nigerian minister of power Bart Nnaji this past week after excessive water leakage was seen as a threat to the whole station.

A government statement says, "To forestall the flooding, all five units in the power station … were shut down".The statement also says divers have been deployed to determine the leak's source, and that immediate attention is required so operations at the nearby 330-MW Jebba Hydro Station are not disrupted.

The Kainji plant was constructed in 1968 with an installed capacity of 760 MW, although its owner, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), says it hasn't been overhauled in more than three decades and now provides a capacity of about 450 MW due to poor maintenance.

Even though PHCN announced a deal with Hydrochina Huadong Engineering Corp. and Harbin Electricity Corp. of China in July 2011 to modernize and rehabilitate the plant, Nigeria's government has used its closure to announce a revision to its rehabilitated capacity.

When the rehabilitation was first announced, the plant was to have a total ouput of 238-MW via four turbine units, but officials say the addition of fifth turbine to that plan wil make Kainji's ouput 350-MW.

The project received an unspecified amount of funding from the World Bank's International Development Association in November 2011.

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