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Second Fire at United Silicon Plant

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Second Fire at United Silicon Plant

United Silicon, Helguvík.

The United Silicon plant in Helguvík. Photo: Screenshot from RÚV.

A fire broke out at the United Silicon plant in Helguvík, Southwest Iceland, at about 3am this morning, reports RÚV.

The fire started after 1,600°C [2,912°F] molten silicon metal flowed out of an electric arc furnace onto the floor during the tapping process of silicon production because the hole made for the purpose of tapping was too large. The molten silicon melted tubes and electrical equipment on the floor.

According to Kristleifur Andrésson, the environmental and safety director at the plant, the fire will not significantly affect operations. “We are going to examine the situation after the silicon metal on the floor has cooled. This should not delay operations much. There is production going on inside the furnace, but we probably need to tap it a different way.”

Factory employees put out the fire and Kristleifur stated no one was injured. Firefighters were on site for a few hours after the fire was extinguished. There was a considerable amount of smoke inside the factory, according to Kristleifur, which subsequently wafted out in the direction of the village of Garður on the Reykjanes peninsula.

A fire last broke out at the plant on April 18, and the Environment Agency of Iceland called for a halt to operations. United Silicon restarted the furnace on May 21, under the supervision of the Agency.

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