Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE power utility, Zesa, says it will go ahead with demolition of two of the six cooling towers at the Bulawayo Power Station as they have outlived their design lifespan and manifest advanced symptoms of deterioration.
The two cooling towers have already been decommissioned.
There was an uproar last week in Bulawayo following reports that the Zimbabwe Power Company, a subsidiary of Zesa, was planning to demolish the old cooling towers at the power station.
Zesa spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira yesterday said the towers would be demolished to safeguard the general public.
He said a new tower will be constructed to replace the two and it will enable the station to increase generation capacity from 16MW to 90MW.
“Not all the towers will be removed. Only two will be removed and out of the six, four will remain. At the moment these towers are idle,” Mr Gwasira said.
“The reason for demolition is because they pose a safety risk to the community because of their structural integrity, which is compromised. Hence they have to be pulled down. The towers have since been decommissioned.”
In a statement, ZPC also said a survey carried out revealed that cooling towers 1 and 2 have outlived their design lifespan.
“The towers also manifest advanced symptoms of deterioration including holes and cracks right through their hyperbolic shells, which compromises structural and functionality integrity, thus, posing a safety risk.
“As such, the structures need to be removed to safeguard the general public, power station personnel, electricity generation equipment, buildings, functional cooling towers, and neighbouring companies,” said ZPC.
ZPC added that while it appreciates the sentimental attachment towards the iconic towers by Bulawayo residents, the demolition of the two towers was necessary.
“The demolition of the towers eliminates hazards, thereby ensuring continued electricity generation in a safe environment, and the full restoration of ko-Ntuthuziyathunqa,” said ZPC.
Residents have suggested that the towers should be painted and transformed into a tourist attraction. They have said the towers are an essential part of the Bulawayo landscape and they relate to the traditional name for the city ko-Ntuthuziyathunqa.