Eskom says Unit 2 of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station will go offline for maintenance for several months from next week.
It said after operating for over a year with no disruptions, Koeberg Unit 2 will on Monday 17 January be taken offline for a regular refuelling and maintenance outage that is scheduled for five months.
“This will be the 25th refuelling outage on Unit 2 since commissioning and will also see the replacement of the unit’s three steam generators. During this outage, the reactor pressure vessel head, which houses the nuclear fuel while the station is in operation, will also be replaced,” the statement read.
Koeberg Unit 1 will also have a similar outage for the same time period later in the year.
The Koeberg units are the largest generating units in Africa, Eskom says the planned maintenance is scheduled during the year “when the impact on the overall electricity supply is minimised as far as possible.”
However, this does not mean there will be planned long outages, they reiterated.
Riedewaan Bakardien, Eskom’s chief nuclear officer said: “This is going to be a long, but needed outage – the first of its kind for Koeberg. Our staff are prepared and committed to making history by ensuring [the] success of this project.
“Nuclear safety is the paramount factor. We will progress the outage work diligently, making sure nuclear safety and safety of plant, personnel and public is top of mind.”
When the Koeberg Unit 2 shuts down on Monday it would have been online generating electricity for 452 days without any interruption since its last refuelling outage, which was completed in October 2020.
The process will see the nuclear power station sealed inside a reactor vessel, which is opened for refuelling every 15 to 18 months.
“This is also a time when the station will perform certain required inspections on equipment and perform more intrusive maintenance that cannot be performed when the unit is online…
“Like all changes to the Koeberg units, the steam generators of Unit 2 can only be replaced when it is safe to do so and with all the required regulatory approval,” the power utility explained.