An explosion struck Kosovo's second biggest coal-fired power station outside the capital Pristina today and authorities said some people had been hurt, possibly killed.

Earlier, local media reported three people had been killed but these reports have not been independently verified.

Authorities shut down the 40-year-old Kosovo A plant, considered one of the worst polluters in Europe.

The blast was heard in the capital some 10km away.

Ambulances rushed to the scene.

The Yugoslav-era plant and the larger Kosovo B account for 90% of electricity generation in the Balkan country.

Kosovo still suffers blackouts 15 years after breaking free of Serbia in a 1998-99 war during the collapse of federal Yugoslavia.

"We have information about some fatalities but that has still to be confirmed," Health Minister Ferid Agani told reporters outside the plant, cordoned off by security forces as workers were evacuated.

Mr Agani said 13 people had been treated in hospital but that their injuries were not life-threatening.

Economy Minister Fadil Ismajli, whose ministry covers the energy sector, told Reuters that the 345 Megawatt (MW) Kosovo Ahad been shut down.

He said the accident occurred when a hydrogen tank exploded in a separate part of the power station from the electricity generators.