Koeberg’s Big Comeback: Unit 1 Set for November Revival

There’s a new ray of hope on South Africa’s power horizon.

Eskom Eyes a November Reboot for Unit 1 A breath of fresh air for those tracking the nation’s power scenario. Eskom’s much-discussed Koeberg Unit 1 has been marked for a November 2023 revival.

Key to remember? When firing on all cylinders, each Koeberg unit churns out a massive 900MW.

Eskom’s representative, Daphne Mokwena, jubilantly reported the significant progress achieved as of 28 July 2023. The central mechanical task of switching out the steam generators at Unit 1 is now wrapped up. In her words, “This is the most significant part of the scope which involved complex activities,” marking an optimistic turn for the power utility.

Post-work Blueprint:

  • Completion of pending outage activities.
  • Fuel reload to the reactor.
  • Energizing the unit back to the grid.

Tackling Unit 2 But what’s the play with Unit 2, you wonder? Thanks to the deferral on Unit 1’s return, Unit 2’s scheduled outage gets a brief pause, moving to 7 November 2023. This ensures no overlapping shutdowns between the two Koeberg giants.

Highlight: Mokwena underlined this steam generator replacement as a pioneering nuclear project for Koeberg. It forms the pinnacle of the Long-Term Operation (LTO) project, where two other significant components – the Refuelling Water Storage Tanks and the Reactor Vessel Closure Heads – have seen replacements in preceding years for both Units 1 and 2.

The Promise of Enhanced Performance Here’s a tidbit for tech enthusiasts: the fresh steam generators not only pack a punch with higher efficiency but also promise to juice out an extra 27MW. Mokwena confidently declared this would fortify Koeberg’s electricity generation for the foreseeable future.

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Licensing and Beyond Eskom’s refurbishing efforts fortify its bid to extend Koeberg’s operational wingspan by another two decades. Mokwena proudly reflects on Koeberg’s legacy, saying, “The Koeberg units have operated safely and reliably for almost 40 years.” Moreover, the delay in Unit 1’s makeover won’t dent Eskom’s license amendment application with the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR).

And what’s the word on Unit 2? Well, it took a hiatus back in January 2022 for a facelift, aiming to replace its trio of steam generators as part of its longevity work. Despite Framatome, the French contractor, being all set, the project saw an unforeseen halt.

The Road Ahead Eskom’s not just about reworking hardware. As Mokwena puts it, they’re knee-deep in “analysing the causes of the delays on Unit 1” to ensure no reruns when Unit 2’s generator replacement rolls out.

The tale of Koeberg offers a glimpse of a nation’s journey to balance power demands with infrastructural challenges.

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