Eskom to delay Koeberg work on load shedding fears

The Koeberg nuclear power station. Image: licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0

Eskom has decided not to replace the steam generators at unit 2 of the Koeberg nuclear power station as planned this year over fears it could contribute to winter power cuts.

This is after a review concluded the unit could be returned to service later than planned.

The nuclear unit was shut down on 18 January for a regular refuelling and maintenance outage, the scope of which included the replacement of its three steam generators.

“Prior to the start of any irreversible work, Eskom and the main contractor, Framatome, performed a final review to ensure that the steam generator replacement work would be completed at the expected quality levels and in accordance with the outage schedule,” the utility said.

“The review concluded there is a high likelihood of the unit being returned to the grid later than currently planned. Due to the potential severe impact of returning this unit later than June 2022 as initially planned, the decision has been made to defer the steam generator replacement to the next outage on this unit, planned for August 2023.”

Load shedding

Eskom said by delaying the project, it wants to mitigate the risk of load shedding during the 2022 winter months.

“This deferral does not impact the safe operation of the Koeberg nuclear power plant or Eskom’s life extension plan for Koeberg, which requires the replacement of the steam generators on both units. Based on the condition of the original steam generators on unit 2, the deferral … does not impact [its] safe operation as the original steam generators undergo a full series of routine inspections and tests to ensure that their integrity is maintained for the next operating cycle.”

Eskom said the fuel has been successfully unloaded from unit 2 and most of the work planned in the early part of the outage has been completed. The utility expects the unit to return to service in June.

A project to replace the steam generators on Koeberg unit 1 will proceed in September as planned.  – © 2022 NewsCentral Media

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