Unit 1 of the Koeberg nuclear power station has reached the milestone of 400 days of continuous operation.
State-owned power utility Eskom on Wednesday said this was achieved after the unit was shut down for scheduled refuelling, inspection and maintenance on September 19, 2016, after a safe, record-setting continuous run of 474 days. The previous running record for the unit is 454 days, which was set between June 2000 and September 2001.
Every 16 to 18 months, each of the two units at Koeberg is subjected to a scheduled shutdown to avoid having both units out of service at the same time. During these routine planned outages, one-third of the used nuclear fuel is replaced with new fuel, statutory inspections and maintenance are performed, and modifications that will improve safety or the plant performance are implemented.
“This strategy is yielding a resounding success as the power station has operated safely and efficiently for 33 years,” the company said.
Koeberg power station GM Velaphi Ntuli stated: “This great milestone was achieved while maintaining good nuclear safety performance and zero harm to people and the environment.”
Eskom interim CE Sean Maritz added that this achievement is a reflection of disciplined execution by Koeberg staff and contractor partners.
“This serves as inspiration to continue on this path of world-class performance while also demonstrating our commitment to provide secure and reliable supply of electricity for the country,” he said.
Koeberg is Africa’s only nuclear power station and has an installed capacity of 1 860 MW and provides 50% of Western Cape’s and approximately 5.6% of South Africa’s energy needs.