The Koeberg nuclear power station outside Cape Town. File picture: Henk Kruger
The Koeberg nuclear power station outside Cape Town. File picture: Henk Kruger

‘Eskom won’t replace Koeberg generators in 2018’

By Siseko Njobeni and IOL Time of article published Aug 11, 2016

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Johannesburg - Contrary to its previous arguments, Eskom no longer plans to replace Koeberg nuclear plant’s steam generators in 2018, according to a representative of Westinghouse.

Read also: Koeberg papers weren't leaked

Westinghouse is contesting a R5 billion contract to replace Koeberg’s steam generators. Eskom awarded the contract to French energy group Areva, but Westinghouse argued that the whole tender process was unlawful because of alleged lack of proper compliance with the tender requirements.

Eskom announced yesterday that the precautionary suspension of Koeberg’s general manager and the plant manager “as a result of the distribution of documentation containing unauthorised facts and assumptions relating to Koeberg’s Production Plan.

“The potential prejudice caused to Eskom by the unauthorised actions of the suspended personnel, is currently being assessed.”

Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said yesterday that “for some reason” the two senior managers shared a document with unauthorised facts with third parties. “We felt that was not procedural. We are talking about unapproved information that had been circulated within Eskom. The information had not been approved by the board.”

He declined to disclose the parties with whom the information was shared. “But it is people with an interest in the steam generator tender.”

Pointing to an affidavit filed at the Constitutional Court earlier this month, EE Publishers investigative editor Chris Yelland said there was no leak as the documents were in the public domain.

The affidavit was signed by Westinghouse customer accounts manager Frederik Wolvaart, and said Eskom had sent a letter, dated August 2, with details of the Koeberg output plan through to 2015. The letter was sent to Westinghouse as it was required for other contracts the company had with Eskom.

Wolvaart said Koeberg general manager Riedewaan Bakardien sent the letter, indicating that Eskom no longer planned to replace the generators.

The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled on December that Eskom should review the award after an “unlawful and procedurally unfair” decision by the utility.

Eskom had used the urgency of replacing the generators as part of its defence when awarding a deal to Westinghouse rival Areva in 2014. But Wolvaart argued in his affidavit that because Eskom postponed the replacement of the generators, it could not previously have tendered and would be in a position to fulfil the order should it be granted relief.

“Eskom and Areva can hardly dispute the contents of the letter – it having been authored by a representative of Eskom,” he said.

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