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Mirrors blamed for fire at world's largest solar plant

A small fire shut down a generating tower Thursday at the world's largest solar power plant, leaving the sprawling facility on the California-Nevada border operating at only a third of its capacity, authorities said.

Firefighters had to climb some 300 feet up a boiler tower at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California after fire was reported on an upper level around 9:30 a.m., fire officials said.

The plant works by using mirrors to focus sunlight on boilers at the top of three 459-foot towers, creating steam that drive turbines to produce electricity.


But some misaligned mirrors instead focused sunbeams on a different level of Unit 3, causing electrical cables to catch fire, San Bernardino County, California fire Capt. Mike McClintock said.

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Mirrors do seem to have a tendency to cause probs when misaligned; King Edward VI school close by were using a laser cutter gadget to cut plywood shapes for a project robot they were building. Unfortunately either the machine took a knock, or some glue just wore out, but one of the mirrors reflecting the laser beam went way out of line. The laser beam then cut through some of the internal wiring rather than the target wood, and the machine caught fire! The smoke then got sucked into the ventilation system, and the whole DT section got shut down while everything got taken apart & properly cleaned out!!!
 

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Mirrors do seem to have a tendency to cause probs when misaligned; King Edward VI school close by were using a laser cutter gadget to cut plywood shapes for a project robot they were building. Unfortunately either the machine took a knock, or some glue just wore out, but one of the mirrors reflecting the laser beam went way out of line. The laser beam then cut through some of the internal wiring rather than the target wood, and the machine caught fire! The smoke then got sucked into the ventilation system, and the whole DT section got shut down while everything got taken apart & properly cleaned out!!!
I can imagine the Head Teacher's email now "I hope that this does not reflect badly on the school"
 
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