Eskom takes Koeberg power plant unit offline


Eskom will take unit 2 of the Koeberg nuclear power plant offline on Monday, January 17, for regular refueling and a scheduled five-month maintenance shutdown.

“This will be the 25th outage for refueling of Unit 2 since its commissioning and will also see the replacement of the unit’s three steam generators. During the shutdown, the reactor pressure vessel lid, which houses nuclear fuel during plant operation, will also be replaced, Eskom said in a statement.

It specifies that the shutdown of Koeberg Unit 1, of a similar duration, will follow later in the year during which the steam generators of Unit 1 will also be replaced; its tank cover was replaced several years ago.

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The Koeberg units, with a capacity of 920 MW each, are the largest production units on the African continent, the state-owned company said. “Koeberg outages are planned for times of the year when the impact on the overall electricity supply is minimized as much as possible.

“Prolonged unavailability of units due to expected long outages means that the electricity supply system could come under additional pressure in the coming year.”

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“This is going to be a long but necessary outage – the first of its kind for Koeberg. Our staff are prepared and committed to making history in ensuring the success of this project,” said Riedewaan Bakardien, Eskom’s nuclear director.

“Nuclear safety is the overriding factor. We will advance shutdown work diligently, ensuring that nuclear safety and the safety of the plant, personnel and the public are at the forefront. »

Unlike other types of power plants, where fuel can be added to continue generating electricity, the fuel in a nuclear power plant is sealed inside a reactor vessel, which is open for the refueling every 15 to 18 months, Eskom said.

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“This is also a time when the station will perform some required inspections on equipment and perform more intrusive maintenance that cannot be performed when the unit is online,” he said.

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