Unit 1 at the Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town was shut down for a refuelling outage, power utility Eskom announced. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - Unit 1 at the Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town was shut down on Monday for a refuelling outage, power utility Eskom announced. 

The unit is expected to return to service at the end of May.

Power station manager Velaphi Ntuli said: "Koeberg Unit 2 is currently operating optimally and is contributing 930 MW to the national grid. Every 15 to 18 months a unit is shut down for refuelling, maintenance and statutory inspections. Outages are scheduled to avoid having both units out of service at the same time.  This routine maintenance is part of Eskom’s overall maintenance programme for its generation units."

“During these routine outages, one third of the used nuclear fuel is replaced with new fuel. Maintenance, plant modifications, inspections and statutory work is done to ensure that international safety standards continue to be met and that reliable plant performance continues," said Ntuli.

Ntuli added that unit 1 currently holds a record of running for 400 days without being interrupted, a milestone that was achieved in December 2017. 

Koeberg, Africa’s only nuclear power station, has an installed capacity of 1 860 MW, which provides 50% of the Western Cape’s and approximately 5.6% of South Africa’s energy needs.

African News Agency/ANA