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Forensic engineer Dr Sean Brady has been engaged to lead an independent investigation into the Callide Power Station fire that sparked a massive outage throughout Queensland last month.

Dr Brady is the man behind the recent Brady Review investigation into the causes of fatalities in the state’s mining and quarrying industry.

CS Energy said other stakeholders were also investigating what had occurred at Callide, including Workplace Health & Safety Queensland and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

It is expected to take a year to bring the generating unit at the heart of the incident (Unit C4) back online at the coal-fired power station.

Unit B1 is scheduled to return to service on June 15 and Unit B2 on June 20. Unit C3, which CS Energy owns in joint venture with InterGen, is expected to return to service on July 2.

CS Energy chief executive officer Andrew Bills said Dr Brady would investigate the cause of the Callide incident, with support from individual experts.

“CS Energy is committed to understanding the facts that led to the C4 event so we can learn from it and improve the safety of our people and plant,” Mr Bills said. 

“The scope of the investigation will be broad in nature and will assess both technical and organisational factors that could have contributed to the C4 incident.

“It will be a highly complex investigation and Dr Brady has been given the authority to expand its scope based on progressive findings. As a result, the timeframes for finalising the investigation cannot be confirmed at this stage and will instead be provided as the investigation progresses and more information becomes available.”

The fire in the turbine hall at the Biloela plant on May 25 set off a chain reaction that disrupted power to more than 470,000 customers in Queensland and New South Wales.

The CFMEU’s Mining and Energy division said site inspections had revealed shrapnel punched holes in the walls, roof and shielding of the turbine hall – with part of the turbine flying hundreds of metres.

A large piece of metal was embedded in the roof and had to be removed by a crane crew as it posed an ongoing risk to workers.

Mr Bills said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the incident until the investigation was complete.

“A report will be published with findings from the investigation so that the lessons learned can be shared with our peers in the power generation industry,” he said.

Mr Bills, who has been visiting Callide Power Station each week, said staffing had returned to normal levels on site.

“The Callide team is doing an extraordinary job. Our crews continue to work on safely bringing the other three generating units back online,” he said.

“I have also met with the local Chamber of Commerce, Banana Shire Council, local State and Federal members of Parliament, and union officials to give them updates on how CS Energy is managing our response to the C4 event.”

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