Koeberg nuclear power plant starts routine maintenance –

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The Koeberg nuclear power station in South Africa is offline today (January 17) for a scheduled five-month scheduled refueling and maintenance shutdown.

It’s the 25thand shutdown for reloading unit 2 since the commissioning of the nuclear power plant. It will also see the replacement of the unit’s three steam generators. During this particular shutdown, the reactor pressure vessel lid, which houses the nuclear fuel during plant operation, will also be replaced.

Later this year, Koeberg Unit 1 will be taken offline and its steam generators will also be replaced. The unit 1 reactor vessel lid was replaced several years ago.

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Shutdowns to deal with maintenance of the nuclear power plant are planned at times of the year when the impact on the overall electricity supply is the least possible. The Koeberg units, of 920 MW each, are the largest production units on the African continent. Prolonged unavailability of units due to expected long outages means that the electricity supply system could be further strained in the coming year.

Riedewaan Bakardien, Chief Nuclear Officer of Eskom, explained that the shutdown is the first of its kind for Koeberg, essential but long: “Our staff is prepared and determined to write history by ensuring the success of this project. Nuclear safety is the overriding factor. We will advance shutdown work diligently, ensuring that nuclear safety and the safety of the plant, personnel and the public are at the forefront. »

Maintenance in support of the life extension of the Koeberg nuclear power plant

When Unit 2 shuts down, it will have been online for 452 days since its last supply failure. Fuel for nuclear power plants is sealed inside the reactor vessel which is opened for refueling every 15 to 18 months. At this time, the station then performs required inspections on equipment and intrusive maintenance that cannot be performed when the unit is online and running.

Koeberg’s latest nuclear safety review by independent industry reviewers found the nuclear power plant to be highly performing in terms of safety and security.

Replacing steam generators is a preventive safety measure. Eskom and the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) have been working on a life extension application for the plant for five years. Replacement of the reactor pressure vessel head and steam generators has been identified by Eskom as a requirement for this life extension. The successful component replacement is an element of the safety submission being prepared for submission to the National Nuclear Regulatory Authority later this year in support of the expansion.

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