Recovery boiler explosion Sunday at Zellstoff Pöls's NBSK pulp mill in Pöls, Austria, shuts production temporarily; company restarts mill today using second boiler but stability of operations still being determined

LOS ANGELES , March 25, 2014 () – The explosion of a recovery boiler at Zellstoff Pöls AG’s northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK) pulp mill in Pöls, Austria, injured a worker and caused the mill to shut temporarily.

The accident involving Recovery Boiler No. 2 occurred Sunday, March 23, around 9 p.m. local time.

A 40-year-old worker suffered burns and was taken to a hospital. The extent of his injuries wasn’t immediately known.

The mill was immediately shut down after the accident but today at about 2 p.m. local time it was restarted, using Recovery Boiler No. 1. a mill official told Industry Intelligence. He said it was not possible at this stage to make statements about the stability of the process but he said energy and steam production are back on track.

He said the mill’s bleached kraft paper side was down after the accident, as well, but that it would have been down anyway on Monday and Tuesday, so customers weren’t being affected.

After the accident the company did notify its pulp customers that production had stopped.

The official said the company intends to quantify its production losses Wednesday and decide about further proceedings.

“We are in the process of diligently assessing damages, investigating the cause and implementing recovery plans,” he said.

Zellstoff Pöls, which is owned by Heinzel Group, has a capacity of 400,000 tonnes/year of NSBK, according to the company website. Its bleached kraft paper capacity is 80,000 tonnes/year.

The main markets for its pulp are Italy, Austria, Slovenia, France, Germany, the Mediterranean countries, and to a growing extent, the “new” European Union member states, the website states. 

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