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NFPA 850 provides recommendations (not requirements) for fire protection for fossil fueled (i.e.

coal, gas or oil) or alternative fueled (i.e. biomass, solid waste etc) power generation plants.

Nuclear power plants or hydroelectric power plants are not covered by NFPA 850: Nuclear
power plants standards are addressed by NFPA 805, whereas recommendations for hydroelectric
power plants are presented at NFPA 851.

Firstly, a fire risk control program should be put in place, which should be reviewed and updated
periodically. As a minimum, written procedures shall be prepared for the following:

- Detailed fire prevention program,

- Detailed impairments procedure, for identifying and rectifying equipment not available for
- Fire emergency plan.

Recommendations for fire protection for power plant

A fire area determination should be carried out in the first place. Fire area boundaries should be
created in order to separate critical areas like cable spreading rooms-tunnels, control rooms,
computer rooms, switchgear rooms, battery rooms, warehouses, fuel oil facilities and boilers,
fuel tanks -containers etc. from adjacent areas. In accordance with NFPA 850, fire barriers
separating fire areas should have a 2-hour fire resistance rating as a minimum.

Fire protection for oil-insulated outdoor type transformers

It is strongly recommended that any oil-insulated outdoor type transformer containing 500 gal
(1890 liters) or more of oil is separated from nearby structures by a 2-hourrated firewall or by
specific spatial separation in accordance with NFPA 850 recommendations.

Wherever a firewall is installed between transformers (please refer to the picture below), it
should extend at least 1 ft (0.31 m) above the top of the transformer shell and oil tank and at least
2 ft (0.61 m) beyond the width of the transformer and cooling radiators.
Fire protection for indoor transformers

Dry-type transformers are strongly preferred for use inside buildings. In case however, an oil-
insulated transformer is installed indoors, then if its oil content exceeds 100 gal (379 liters), then
it should beseparated from nearby areas by a fire barrier of 3-hour fire resistance rating. In case
an automatic fire extinguishment system is installed, then it is allowed that the fire restistance
rating of the fire barrier is reduced to 1 hour.

Construction materials for power plants

With the exception of roof materials, materials used in critical buildings of the power block shall
be either non combustible or limited combustible. Roof covering is recommended to be be Class
A, in compliance with NFPA 256, whereas metal roof deck construction, should be either Class
I or fire classified.

HVAC systems, smoke and heat vent systems

HVAC systems and all related components (fire dampers, ducts etc) shall generally be designed
in compliance with NFPA 90A and NFPA 90B standards.

Air conditioning for the control room needs to provide a slightly pressurized environment so as
to avoid the ingress thof smoke in the event of a fire outbreak outside the control room.
Smoke and heat vent systems do not replace normal ventilation systems. Smoke and heat vents
need to be installed in areas specified by the fire risk evaluation and designed in accordance with
NFPA 92A and NFPA 204 standards.

Water supply for fire protection

Fire pumps and fire tanks will have to be sized for a period of 2 hours water supply so as to meet
the following requirements:
- the biggest fixed fire extinguishment system demand (it is calculated from the detailed fire
fighting study) or any fixed fire suppression system demands that are expected to operate
simultaneously during a single event, whichever is bigger and
- a hose stream supply not less than 500 gpm (1890 liters/minute)

In case tanks are used for fire fighting water supply, they need to be filled from a source capable
of recovering the 2-hour supply in maximum 8 hours. It is strongly recommended that tanks
refilling is carried out automatically.

Fire protection for oil fueled plants

Fuel oil handling facilities shall generally comply with NFPA 30, NFPA 31 and NFPA 70
Internal tank heaters should be equipped with temperature sensing devices for alarm initiation in
case of tank content overheating. External tank heaters should be interlocked with a flow switch
to isolate the heater if oil
flow is interrupted. For safety purposes, pumps shall be installed outside of the tanks dikes and
close monitoring of tanks filling shall be mandatory in order to avoid tank overfilling.

Depending on the case, automatic systems, either with water, foam-water or gaseous flooding
systems (please refer to picture below) can be used for fire protection purposes. Use of foam
systems for outdoor storage tank protection should be stongly considered in the fire risk
Fire protection for coal powered plants

Coal piles are very prone to fire initiation due to the spontaneous self-heating of the coal. In
general, short-term storage piles have to be kept. Dead pockets of coal must be avoided.

Coal piles must not be located in close vicinity to sources of heat, such as steam lines, or sources
of air, such as manholes, doors etc.

Storage structures (silos, bunkers etc) should be of noncombustible materials and designed with
the minimum number of corners, horizontal surfaces, or pockets that cause coal to remain
trapped and thereby increase the risk for spontaneous combustion.

Since coal dust also constitutes a fire hazard, properly designed dust collection or dust
suppression systems shall be installed in order to minimise coal dust dispersion.
Coal conveyor belts should be of material designed to resist ignition. Hydraulic systems should
only use listed fire-retardant hydraulic fluids.

Automatic sprinkler or water spray systems should be employed for fire protection of coal
handling structures that are critical to power generation where coal or coal dust is likely to be

Fire protection to pulverizers

Design shall be in accordance with NFPA 85. Use of carbon monoxide gas detection systems is
strongly recommended as an early indication of conditions which could lead to fire initiation or
even explosion.

Fire protection to turbine generators

In case the generator is hydrogen-cooled, NFPA 55 standard will have to be respected. Routing
of hydrogen piping shoud avoid hazardous areas. Redundant hydrogen seal oil pumps with
separate power supplies should be provided.

Hydraulic control system as well as lube oil systems shall use a listed fire-resistant fluid. Lube
oil reservoirs-tanks should be provided with a vapor extractor, vented to a safe location outside
of the turbine building. Lube oil system components shall comply with NFPA 30 standard.

All areas beneath the turbine-generator operating floor where oil flow, oil spray, or oil
accumulation could occur should be protected by an automatic sprinkler or foam-water sprinkler

Turbine-generator bearings should be protected with an automatic closed-head sprinkler system.

Turbine generator exciter housing should be protected with a total flooding automatic carbon
dioxide system.