Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant by Eskom.
- The last steam generator for Block 2 from Koeberg is expected to arrive on site next weekend.
- Unit 1 of Koeberg is currently out of service as planned and its steam generators are being installed.
- One of the steam generators was dropped at a factory in China, but Eskom previously said all necessary repairs had been completed.
- For more financial news go to News24 Business front page.
The last steam generator needed to extend the runtime of the Koeberg nuclear power plant is on its way to the site.
Eskom said in an email reply to News24 that the steam generator is expected to reach the West Coast power plant by the end of the weekend.
“The final steam generators (sic) needed for the Unit 2 shutdown which begins in October 2023 are currently on their way to the Koeberg site, expected to be on site by the end of the weekend,” said Eskom .
Unit 1 is currently being decommissioned as planned for maintenance and refueling purposes, as well as for the replacement of its steam generators. The three steam generators required for Block 1 have been on site for several months and have been prepared for installation.
Unit 1’s outage is expected to last just over 180 days, or about six months.
Koeberg will reach the end of its projected lifespan in 2024. However, Eskom has applied to the National Nuclear Regulator to extend the life of the plant by another 20 years. In order to keep the power plant operational, certain modifications and safety requirements must be in place. This includes the replacement of six steam generators.
READ | Eskom is scrambling to salvage the R5bn Koeberg project after the steam generator was ‘dropped’ in China
Earlier this year, unit 2’s steam generator replacement was postponed because the facilities were not ready to run the program.
There were concerns that the unit 1 steam generator replacement program would also be delayed. But Eskom has given assurances that the facilities are ready and that the programs are “currently” on schedule.
News24 previously reported that a steam generator originally intended for Unit 1 in Koeberg fell at a factory in China. At a press conference in September, Eskom officials assured that the steam generator had received the necessary repairs and was operational.
Five steam generators had already been delivered to South Africa by September.
Chief Operations Officer Jan Oberholzer also noted that a steam generator destined for Unit 2 has been identified for installation in Unit 1.
Earlier this month, Eskom briefly postponed the planned shutdown of Unit 1 to December 10 to allow the grid to stabilize during Stage 6 load shedding.
Both blocks in Koeberg have a capacity of 920 MW.
Now that the outage is underway, Eskom said the prolonged outage would affect power supplies.
“This is Unit 1’s 26th refueling outage since commissioning and will also involve the replacement of the unit’s three steam generators as part of the power plant’s long-term operational program. The reactor pressure vessel head of this unit has been replaced multiple times over the years,” Eskom said in a statement earlier.
Eskom’s outgoing CEO, André de Ruyter, told Parliament in September that the steam generator replacement program at the nuclear power plant had been “poorly managed” and that disciplinary action had been taken against the workers affected.
Eskom will release its annual results for the year ending March 2022 on Friday.
South Africans, meanwhile, are experiencing a level 4 load shedding.