South Africa could be facing more electricity shortage woes this year. Power utility Eskom has announced that Unit 2 of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station will shut down on Monday.
The unit will be taken offline for a regular refuelling and maintenance outage, 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.
Koeberg’s Unit 1 will be taken off later in the year.
Eskom’s Chief Nuclear Officer Riedewaan Bakardien says that while this is going to be a long shutdown, it is also necessary to ensuring nuclear safety.
“The two units at Koeberg are just over 920 megawatts each, and therefore the largest generation units on the African continent. Their safe and reliable operation is a significant contributor to Eskom meeting the country’s electricity demand. The extended unavailability of the units due to the planned long outages does however mean that electricity supply may be under strain from additional strain during this year,” explains Riedewaan Bakardien.
Eskom separation into three entities
In December, Eskom announced that it had achieved functional separation of its business into three entities being – generation, transmission and distribution, saying it will focus on first transforming the Transmission business into an independent transmission system and market operator.
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter explained:
In this video, Lungile Mashele discusses the cost of the rolling blackouts: