Old Central Texas Power Plant Unit Imploded

MCLENNAN COUNTY (March 7, 2014) Residents of Eastern McLennan County were jarred by an explosion Friday morning as a demolition crew used explosives to implode a large tower at the old Tradinghouse Creek Power Plant.

The implosion happened at around 9:10 a.m. Friday and the steel tower was no more than a mass of rubble within seconds.

Luminant, the plant’s owner, is dismantling the plant, which includes two inactive natural gas-powered steam units.

"This is a very deliberate, fairly lengthy process and at this time, no definitive date has been set for the demolition to be complete, Meranda Cohn, spokeswoman for Luminant said Friday.

Cohn said Tradinghouse is among the older facilities that Luminant owns.

It was mothballed in 2010.

"We felt the best thing we could do as a good neighbor is to come in and remove the structure so that in the future this land can move on to its next productive use," she said.

The final significant step in the demolition process is to implode the shell of the unit boilers, one by one, so that remaining materials can be more easily recovered, she said.

"We imploded one of the two units today; we will implode the remaining unit at a later date," she said, although no definite date for the next implosion has yet been set.

"After today's implosion, our crews will immediately begin cutting and separating sections into smaller pieces for recycling she said, a process that will take a couple of months to complete.

Luminant says it is recycling more than 95 percent of the materials, including steel, copper and parts and pieces of large equipment.

No definitive plans have been made for the site at this time, she said Friday.

Luminant, has, however, recently received a permit that would allow it to build two natural gas combustion turbines at its existing Tradinghouse Power Plant site.

"While current market conditions do not incent new generation, additional resources will be needed and progress is being made to encourage development," she said.

"In anticipation of future, more favorable circumstances, the company took this step to position itself to quickly add new generation to the market when market conditions improve to a level that (warrants) new generation."

The plant, which Texas Power and Light put online in 1970, ended operations in September 2010.

It's one of 21 plants that Luminant owns in Texas, the company's website shows.