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Saturday, 15 December, 2001, 10:20 GMT
Corus furnace probe 'progress'
Corus plant explosion
The blast has been responsible for three deaths
Steel giant Corus has said the investigation into the fatal explosion at the firm's Port Talbot furnace is making progress.

Water has been sprayed onto the furnace number five - which exploded on 8 November killing three workers and injuring ten more - to cool the contents.

And the firm has moved to head off criticism that the blast may have been caused by a fault in the furnace which was due for a partial refit as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment being carried out of the plant

Specialist burns unit at Morriston Hospital
Five workers remain in Swansea's Morriston Hospital

A spokesman said it would be "premature to assume that prior to the explosion there was a defect".

The police and the Health and Safety Executive are continuing to investigate the cause of the blast.

The inquiry has been hampered by molten metal in the blast furnace not cooling down sufficiently to allow experts inside the remains of the structure.

Five people remain in Morriston Hospital following the explosion.

Four are described as comfortable on low-dependency wards.

One man is in a critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit.

Corus said discussions are continuing in to the long-term use of that part of the Llanwern site, which stopped producing steel this year.

Len Radford, steelworker killed at Port Talbot
Len Radford: Blast's third victim

The firm has also issued a statement saying that 2002 should be a more positive year for the firm and its employees.

However, it adds that the steel market has not improved during the course of 2001.

The company say that it is concerned about the possibility of the United States imposing import tariffs on foreign steel.

It said steel from other countries diverted away from the US market could find its way onto the European market.

And any cause to import more steel into Wales, the UK or Europe would be "bad news" for the British steel industry.

The three men killed in the blast were Steve Galsworthy, 25, Andrew Hutin, 21, and Len Radford, 53.

See also:

12 Nov 01 | Wales
Third Corus blast worker dies
09 Nov 01 | Wales
Steelworker killed in explosion
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