The Navajo Nation has announced the results of its third-party investigation into the corrosion of a Navajo Power plant’s steam turbine, a key piece of technology that has been in use since the 1980s.
The Navajo Nation Public Service Commission announced the findings on Wednesday, noting the corrosion was detected in the steam turbine on the Navajo Power Station at Bunkerville in Arizona’s Navajo Territory, where it is housed.
The corrosion was identified after the Navajo Nation took the steam power plant offline following a December 2016 incident in which a piece of a boiler core fell into the ground, prompting a fire and a shutdown of the Navajo Electric Company (NEAC).
A total of 16 complaints about the corrosion were lodged with the Navajo Public Service, according to the commission.
The steam turbine has been operating continuously since the early 2000s, when it was installed at the Bunker, Arizona, plant.
The turbine’s use began with the B-15 engine that powered the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) in the late 1980s and the Navajo-owned Navajo Power Company (NPC) until its bankruptcy in 2000.
Since then, the steam turbines have been used to generate electricity for the Navajo communities of Bunkers Ferry, the Little Rock area and the town of Gila, Arizona.
The investigation is part of the government’s effort to improve environmental and safety standards and safety oversight, according a news release.
The results of the third-parties investigation will be made public after the end of the year, the commission said.