By Ruzanna Stepanian
A mysterious explosion at Armenia’s biggest thermal plant has left one person dead and seven others seriously injured, officials said on Thursday.
The spokesman for the Armenian government’s Department on Emergency Situations, Nikolay Grigorian, told RFE/RL that the blast ripped through a tank containing about 10 tons of sulfuric acid late on Wednesday. He said it caused a massive leak of the extremely dangerous chemical which was the source of the casualties.
The dead employee of the plant, located in the central town of Hrazdan, was identified as Spartak Danielian. He was 44 years old. One of his injured colleagues was reportedly in a critical condition.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known. “The acid itself could not explode,” Grigorian explained. “There was probably a technology breach. Specialists will establish the real cause after looking into the accident.”
“An investigation is being conducted by the prosecutor’s office,” said the plant’s chief architect, Haykaz Abrahamian. “There are unclear things and we need time to clarify them.”
Abrahamian added that the acid container was successfully tested for high pressure shortly before the blast.
The Hrazdan plant meets more than one third of Armenia’s energy needs. Last year it was taken over by a state-run Russian power utility as part of swap agreement settling Armenia’s $100 debt to Russia.