First of two blast furnaces shuts down | EUROtoday

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By Huw Thomas, Business Correspondent, Huw Thomas

Construction Photography/Avalon A worker taking samples from Blast Furnace 5 in Port TalbotConstruction Photography/Avalon

The final molten iron can be tapped from Blast Furnace 5 this week

Loud noises and huge plumes of steam can be seen above the Port Talbot steelworks as one in all its historic furnaces is closed down by Friday.

Blast Furnace 5 (BF5) had been working since 1959, however will shut as a part of Tata Steel UK’s restructure.

Port Talbot’s different furnace will finish manufacturing of liquid iron in September forward of the development of a greener electrical arc furnace subsequent yr.

Nearby residents have been warned concerning the sights and sounds related to the cooling of BF5.

Tata Steel UK Exterior shot of Blast Furnace 5 in Port TalbotTata Steel UK

The furnace had undergone main rebuilding and renovation works to maintain working

Tata Steel UK Blast Furnace 5 pictured in 1958Tata Steel UK

Blast Furnace 5 in 1958, a yr earlier than it started producing liquid iron

Earlier this week, engineers started altering the uncooked substances which are poured into the blast furnace with the intention to put together for decommissioning.

Plumes of steam and a few whooshing sounds had been anticipated to be heard forward of the ultimate tapping of liquid iron on Thursday night or Friday morning.

When the furnace started life in May 1959, it produced 11,800 tonnes every week, peaking in 2009 when it was producing greater than 57,000 tonnes every week.

Tragedy struck in November 2001 when an explosion killed three steelworkers and severely injured 12 others.

Tonnes of molten iron burst from the furnace because the explosion lifted the highest of the large construction into the air.

A report blamed the reason for the catastrophe on water that had come into contact with scorching supplies within the furnace.

Family photos A composite image showing Stephen Galsworthy, Andrew Hutin and Len RadfordFamily images

Stephen Galsworthy, Andrew Hutin and Len Radford died within the 2001 explosion

The explosion claimed the lives of Stephen Galsworthy, who was 25, Andrew Hutin, 20, and Len Radford, 53.

A £65m rebuilding of the furnace, and upgrades since, had allowed it to proceed producing the liquid iron required for Port Talbot’s steelworks.

Its closure comes amid an enormous restructure of Tata Steel UK’s operations.

While BF5 will shut this week, Blast Furnace 4 will shut in September and can finish Port Talbot’s capacity to supply liquid iron from ore.

Around 2,800 employees from Tata’s 8,000 workforce will lose their jobs.

History of Blast Furnace 5

  • May 1959 – The fireside for Blast Furnace 5 is “blown-in” to start producing molten iron
  • 1960 – BF5 is producing 11,800 tonnes every week, and is one in all 27 blast furnaces within the UK
  • 1973-74 – BF5 is relined and enlarged, producing 23,000 tonnes every week
  • November 2001 – Explosion that killed three males
  • 2002 – £65m rebuilding of the broken furnace
  • 2009 – Iron manufacturing hits a report of 57,249 tonnes every week
  • 2018 – Life extension undertaking to maintain the furnace working till 2026
  • 2024 – Tata Steel broadcasts it’s going to shut each BF5 and the youthful BF4 this yr
A steelworker testing molten iron quality at Blast Furnace 4 in Port Talbot

A employee within the neighbouring Blast Furnace 4 which is able to shut in September

Tata Steel UK Tata at sunsetTata Steel UK

Tata Steel’s restructure will change the 2 blast furnaces with an electrical furnace that melts scrap metal

The firm has stated that Port Talbot’s blast furnace operation was incurring losses of £1m a day and was financially unsustainable.

It can be the biggest polluter in Wales. The blast furnaces emit round two tonnes of carbon dioxide for each tonne of metal they produce.

It is estimated that Wales’ total emissions can be lower by 15 to twenty% with the closure of the furnaces.

The firm will construct an electrical arc furnace to supply metal by melting scrap steel, with development set to start in August 2025.

The course of will take a number of years to finish, and would require far fewer jobs to function than the standard blast furnaces.