All three blades fell off a Jeumont J48 750 kW turbine just 15 days after it had been commissioned in December at the Montjoyer-Rochefort wind power plant in the south-westerly Drôme department. Hervé Himmer, head of Jeumont's wind energy division, says the accident occurred when the turbine's braking system malfunctioned during final tests. Although none of the other 22 machines were affected, they were all taken out of service and the systems reinforced. The remaining machine will be fitted with new blades and should start turning again in June. The problem does not affect J48 turbines already installed, which have a slightly different braking system. Earlier this year, Jeumont, which is owned by nuclear giant Framatome ANP, announced it would stop manufacturing the J48 and develop a larger model (Windpower Monthly, March 2005).
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol