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Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Blast furnace replacement under way
The Corus steel plant in Port Talbot
Corus has pledged to rebuild the wrecked furnace
Work is under way to replace the blast furnace destroyed after an explosion last winter at the Corus steelworks in Port Talbot.

The operation is being carried out by the Newport-based Rowecord Group, and will create up to 100 jobs for local people.

Andrew Hutin:
Andrew Hutin: One of three victims

Three men died and 12 more needed hospital treatment when blast furnace number five exploded last November.

Corus announced earlier this year that the furnace would be rebuilt at a cost of 75m.

Contracts worth 16m to work on a new tower furnace have just started and the replacement is expected to be completed in January.

"The rebuilding of the number five blast furnace has created a number of opportunities for local companies to supply and work on the project," said Andy Herman, Director of Engineering for Corus Strip Products.

"The rebuild programme requires a high degree of expertise and teamwork involving many companies.

The new furnace will be around 90 metres high, while repair work will also be carried out on the hot blast stoves, inhaul conveyor systems and the high level bunkers.

A new gas plant, fume extraction plant and closed circuit water cooling system will also be installed.

Port Talbot steelworks
An inquiry into the blast has been completed

The fatal explosion on 8 November last year added further woes following the announcement that the steel giant was to shed 3,000 jobs in Wales.

It deeply affected the Port Talbot community - dominated as it is by the massive steelworks operation.

An investigation into the blast, carried out by South Wales Police and the Health and Safety Executive, was completed in April.

Victims Andrew Hutin, 20, Stephen Galsworthy, 25, and Len Radford, 53, were all killed in the explosion, and 12 other men were injured.

The joint investigation was a staged process, which involved bringing in independent experts when they were needed.

The results are not expected to be known for several months.

Steelworks Blast

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