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The J.E. Corette coal plant’s smokestack, a longtime landmark along the Yellowstone River in Billings, came down Friday morning as one of the last steps in dismantling the plant.

The 350-foot stack toppled at about 8 a.m. as contractors for Talen Energy, the plant’s owner, detonated explosives.

Corette Power plant stack getting demolished.

Posted by Billings Fire Fighters on Friday, December 4, 2015

“The plan was executed and developed without any incident. It went by the book,” said Todd Martin, Talen’s spokesman. “Obviously it will take time to clear the debris,” he added.

Contractors set explosives in strategic places at the bottom of the stack so it would fall in the direction as identified in their plan, Martin said. The charge was hard wired and detonated by a button pushed from outside an established safety perimeter, he said.

Talen, for safety reasons, did not publicize when it was going to take down the stack but had said site demolition of the 47-year-old power plant would be done by the end of the year.

Martin said that as a courtesy, Talen advised about 20 residents near the plant on Thursday evening that the stack would be coming down on Friday morning and that there would be sounds and vibrations. There was no need to anyone to leave their homes, he said.

Dismantling of J.E. Corette power plant

The dismantling of the former J.E. Corette power plant took a major step forward as demolition of the main boiler began late last week. Talen Energy Montana has retained an expert contractor to safely complete the work before the end of 2015.

Posted by Talen Energy on Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Talen also met with both the Yellowstone County sheriff’s department and Billings Fire Department. Martin said. Talen, he added, appreciated the agencies’ support.

Former Corette owners PPL Montana closed the 153-megawatt plant in April because the plant could not meet mercury pollution standards. The company spun off Corette along with other assets to Talen Energy, which is doing the demolition and environmental cleanup.

Meanwhile, Talen is talking with possible buyers of the Corette site but nothing has been finalized.



Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.