AKRON, Ohio, July 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) today completed demolition of the 854-foot concrete stack and associated building at its former coal-fired R.E. Burger Power Station in Shadyside, Ohio, paving the way for future development.
Approximately 450 pounds of explosives were used to drop Burger's concrete stack and 171-foot tall boiler house, where steam was created to generate electricity. Explosive charges were detonated at approximately 8:30 a.m. this morning, and the structures took only about 10 seconds to fall.
Today's activities were the culmination of more than three weeks of preparation. Excess concrete and rebar were removed from the structures to direct the angle of the buildings' fall. A professional explosives demolition team from Tulsa, Ok., set charges in the structures for the explosives. Dust suppression systems consisting of large fans and water sprayers surrounded the buildings to help contain the concrete and dirt particles that result from the structures' fall.
To ensure the safety of the hundreds of spectators who viewed the demolition, FirstEnergy worked closely with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard, and authorities from Belmont County, Ohio, and Marshall County, W. Va. Highways in the area along with the Ohio River were closed for approximately 20 minutes as the buildings were toppled. A safe viewing area for the public was designated at a park across the river in Moundsville, W. Va.
"Today's demolition is an important milestone that supports future development of the Burger facility," said James H. Lash, Executive Vice President and President of FirstEnergy Generation. "We are working with state and local officials, JobsOhio and PTTGC America to support use of this property for a proposed cracker plant that will bring a vital manufacturing base to the county and many employment and business development opportunities to the region."
"FirstEnergy has a legacy of creating jobs and opportunity in eastern Ohio, and we are honored to have the opportunity to build upon that legacy," said Toasaporn Boonyapipat, President and CEO of PTTGC America. "We appreciate the cooperative relationship we have built with FirstEnergy as we work with all of our local, regional and statewide partners toward making this project a reality."
FirstEnergy has entered into an agreement with PTTGC America for transfer of the property if the company elects to proceed with construction of an ethane gas cracker plant at the site. Under the agreement, PTTGC America retains exclusive property acquisition rights while completing the engineering studies associated with the proposed project.
"This project is a top priority for JobsOhio. The ongoing demolition and remediation at the former Burger power plant is a positive signal and will position the site well for redevelopment should PTTGC America decide to move forward," said David Mustine, JobsOhio Senior Advisor. "The agreement between FirstEnergy and PTTGC America is another step in the right direction, but much work needs to be completed prior to the company's final investment decision, which we expect in early 2017."
The Burger plant was fully retired in 2011, and demolition activities began in 2015 to remove several other structures, including an electrical switchyard, three other buildings and the coal yard and its associated equipment. Property clean-up, removal of scrap metal and concrete debris, and planting grass on the site is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.
FirstEnergy's Burger power plant began operation in 1944 as a single-unit, 63-megawatt coal plant. A second 63-megawatt unit was added in 1947, followed by a 103-megawatt unit in 1950 and two 156-megawatt units in 1955. The Burger units collectively produced 568 megawatts of electricity.
Units 1 and 2 were the first to retire in 1995, when they reached the end of their life cycle. Units 4 and 5 were decommissioned at the end of 2010 due to economic conditions, and Unit 3 was retired in 2011 based on the impact of environmental rules.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, while its generation subsidiaries control nearly 17,000 megawatts of capacity from a diversified mix of scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, hydro and other renewables. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.
Editor's Note: Photos of today's demolition are available for download on Flickr.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.