After almost 15 months of uninterrupted operation, Unit 2 of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station will be taken offline on Monday.
South African power utility Eskom has announced that the Unit will be offline for the next five months for scheduled maintenance and refueling.
They revealed that Unit 2’s three steam generators will be replaced along with the reactor pressure vessel head. The reactor pressure vessel head houses the nuclear fuel while the station is in operation.
Koeberg’s Unit 1 will also be taken offline later during the year. Unit 1’s steam generators will also be replaced.
Eskom explained that replacing the steam generators is a precautionary safety measure. They added that the replacement of these components are crucial to the life extension of the Koeberg power plant. Eskom wants to extend koeberg’s operation for 20 additional years. The power station's lifespan was expected to come to an end in 2024.
They have warned that the electricity supply in the country may be under strain during the coming year. This as Koeberg's Unit 1 and 2 producing 920MW of electricity each. They add that the outages were planned at a time where electricity demand is set to be lower.
Eskom has also approached the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) with plans to increase tariffs on the purchase of electricity by 20.5%.
Energy Sector Analyst, Roger Lilley says that if Eskom is successful, many people won't be able to cope with the increase in prices. This as nobody gets a 20% increase in their salaries.
He warns that Eskom’s plan won't necessarily result in an increase in revenue for the power utility. This could lead to people using less electricity but still purchasing the same amount of electricity.