Eskom’s Koeberg Unit 1 offline for repairs, expected to be operational by May
DURBAN - South African electricity generator Eskom said that it has taken its Koeberg Unit 1 offline for repairs, routine maintenance and refueling outage processes and is expected to return to operation in May.
The entity’s spokesperson Sikhonathi Mantshantsha said that in a statement on Monday that on Sunday afternoon, an increasing leak rate was observed on one of three steam generators in Unit 1. “This was confirmed by other plant measurement readings. Although the leak rate was well within the safety limits, a conservative decision was made to take Koeberg Unit 1 offline for repairs.
During this period the unit will also undergo its routine maintenance and refuelling, which was originally scheduled to start during February. The unit is expected to return to service during May 2021,” said Mantshantsha.
The steam generator is a tubular heat exchanger which mechanically dries the steam produced during the nuclear power generation process. Shutting down the plant takes several hours, and the process was still underway after 10am on Monday. Once shut down, Eskom said that fuel would be unloaded from the reactor core to enable maintenance activities to be conducted and the cause of the increased leak rate to be fixed.
Mantshantsha said that there is no risk to the plant, personnel, or the environment. “Unit 2 continues to safely operate and generate at full power,” he said.
According to Eskom’s website, Koeberg, is the only nuclear power station in Africa which has a pressurised water reactor (PWR) design. It boasts the largest turbine generators in the Southern Hemisphere and is the most southerly-situated nuclear power station in the world. It has two 970MW units with an installed capacity of 1 940MW. Its design efficiency at rated turbine MCR was at 33.5 percent. Over the past three years, its average availability was at 79.7 percent while average production over the same period was at 12 715GWh.
The power generator said that this power station has operated safely and efficiently for over 28 years and still had life in it and could still go for more years.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE