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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Should we be worried about Eskom’s management of Koeberg?

Koeberg technicians, including French contractors have reportedly raised concerns of safety issues on site.


Eskom appears to be in cover-up mode when it comes to operations at the Koeberg Nuclear Power station.

South Africa has enjoyed a 100% safety record at the station, with no incidents being reported since the station has been constructed.

But a report by Daily Maverick states that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the recent ongoings at the nuclear site.

Even more worrying, Eskom avoided directly answering questions the publication asked for comment.

The latest report states that an incident of human error occurred at the plant this week.

“It sounds like a small thing, but in recent days a technician onsite at Koeberg accidentally cut a valve on the reactor known as Unit 1, instead of the same valve on Unit 2, which has been down for scheduled maintenance since January,” reports Daily Maverick.

An internal Koeberg newsletter, The Shutdown Times, told workers that “as painful as it is to talk about it”, the incident “could have had devastating consequences”. 

But that is not the only red flag that has cropped up recently.

Earlier this month Eskom announced that it was delaying planned maintenance on Unit 2 of Koeberg because a containment site to house old reactors was incomplete.

“What Eskom did not explain was the cause of the repeated delays. 

“These included one contractor walking off-site, and French partner Framatome, which is building the six steam generators that will replace the old ones, complaining about safety issues on site,” reports Daily Maverick.

While Eskom has had months, if not years to plan for Koeberg repairs, the report states that containment site buildings are ‘far from complete.’

During a press briefing in early March Eskom estimated that the contaminated buildings will be ready in early 2023.

Another red flag is the National Nuclear Regulators’ decision to green light maintenance when then the containment site was incomplete.

Among the increasing red flags mounted on Koeberg is the dismissal of community representative Peter Becker from the NNR board.

Becker was removed the day before the authority greenlighted maintenance on Koeberg.

The NNR did not make the minutes of these discussions publicly available.

Eskom has also been suffering a critical skills exodus. COO Jan Oberholzer previously said that Eskom technicians who are among the best globally are being poached by international companies, which are offering higher salaries.

NOW READ: Civil Society opposes Koeberg life extension plan on Fukushima anniversary

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