Cape Town — The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) says for large parts of the next two years, only one unit at the Koeberg power plant will be operational at a time.
Koeberg is one of South Africa’s biggest power plants but over the years, at least one unit has been frequently offline as Eskom has struggled to maintain the plant and complete the life extension plan. The struggling power supply unit applied for an extension to allow the Cape Town plant to run for another 20 years, EWN reported.
The current license expires on 21 July 2024, and if the grant is extended, they will only find out in that month. According to NNR, both Unit 1 and Unit 2 need to be taken off for 200 days at a time.
“As part of that preventative maintenance and inspection test programme, they need to complete certain activities. The last big test that was performed on these containments was in 2015, so they have another 10 years, to 2025, in terms of the industry standard, to complete that test,” NNR programme manager, Peter Bester, said.
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According to Engineering News, The NNR will decide in January whether to grant Eskom’s request for both units’ licenses to be separated as to allow Unit 2 a later commercial operation date.
Should the request be denied, both units will go offline simultaneously on 21 July, with Unit 1 scheduled to undergo another 200-day outage as from that date for further compulsory maintenance.
Unit 2 would face a similar long-term compulsory outage, which is required every ten years, once its stream generators were replaced. This maintenance would need to be completed during 2026.
During 2023, only a single Koeberg unit has been operational at any one time, exacerbating load shedding during what has already been confirmed as the country’s worst-ever year for power disruptions.
Compiled by Matthew Petersen