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Fire stops production at Nepal's Kulekhani 2 hydroelectric plant

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Power generation at Nepal's 32-MW Kulekhani 2 hydroelectric plant has stopped after a fire damaged several transformers in the project's powerhouse earlier this week.

According to the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the fire broke out after when an electrical bushing exploded under a high voltage load.

Sources report that it then took members of the Nepal Army and fire engines from the nearby towns of Chitwan, Birgunj and Hetauda were able to contain the fire in about two hours, potentially saving the entire powerhouse from being destroyed.

For now, NEA officials said, Kulekhani 2 (also spelled "Kalakhani") will remain closed at least until the damaged transformers can be repaired, after which the company will be able to complete a more thorough evaluation of the project.

NEA also said it will likely import energy from India to make up for the capacity lost from the Kulekhani 2 plant, though a load shedding schedule might need to be enacted.

HydroWorld.com reported in February that production at the project's sister plant, Kulekhani 1, had been decreased due to cable issues.

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