Dominion Investigating Cause Of Steam

November 6, 2007

SALEM, Mass. – Dominion, the owner of Salem Harbor Power Station, is investigating the cause of a steam tube rupture at the Unit 3 boiler at the station Tuesday in which three employees were seriously injured.

The injured employees were transported to area hospitals and then to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.  The employees suffered serious burns.  Dominion will not identify the injured personnel unless their family members authorize it.

"Our hearts go out to the families of these injured employees," said Gary Courts, managing director-Dominion Fossil & Hydro Operations.  "The prayers and hopes of all of Dominion’s 17,000 employees are with them."

State, local and federal authorities are at the station and investigating the incident.  Dominion is cooperating fully with authorities as well as conducting a separate investigation.

The rupture occurred on an exterior steam tube in the basement level on the east side of the Unit 3 boiler.  The cause of the rupture is not known.  Steam flows through these tubes from the boiler to the turbine-generator, which spins to produce electricity.

Asbestos was used to insulate the boiler and nearby high pressure components.  Detectable levels of asbestos were found in the air in the area nearest the rupture inside the Unit 3 building, temporarily restricting access to officials investigating the cause of the rupture.  Dominion is developing a plan with the appropriate agencies to regain access to the area.

Station personnel said the first indication of a problem with the Unit 3 boiler was when the rupture occurred at about 9 a.m.  Fire and rescue authorities were notified immediately.

Station personnel not directly involved in the operation of the station or responding to the incident were sent home.

Salem Harbor is a four-unit power station generating 754 megawatts.  The three coal-fired units, Units 1, 2 and 3, were operating at the time of the incident.  Units 1 and 2 continue to operate safely.  The oil-fired Unit 4 was not operating Tuesday.

Dominion (NYSE: D) is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of about 26,500 megawatts of generation, 7,800 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline and 1 trillion cubic feet equivalent (Tcfe) of proved natural gas and oil reserves. Dominion also owns and operates the nation's largest underground natural gas storage system with about 960 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in 11 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at

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