Public hearings for Koeberg life extension to start in February

15th November 2023 By: Darren Parker - Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

Public hearings for Koeberg life extension to start in February

The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) will hold public hearings into State-owned utility Eskom's application to extend the operational life of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station (KNPS) by 20 years, in February next year.

Eskom is currently authorised to operate the KNPS, which comprises two pressurised water reactor units, which began commercial operations in July 1984 for Unit 1 and November 1985 for Unit 2. The units are set to reach 40 years of commercial operation in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

On May 10, 2021, the NNR received an application from Eskom seeking approval to extend the KNPS operational period beyond the existing licence term of July 21, 2024. The request outlines an additional 20 years, extending Unit 1's operation to July 21, 2044, and Unit 2 to November 9, 2045.

In response to Eskom's application, the NNR directed the utility to notify stakeholders directly affected by the proposed extension. Additionally, Eskom was instructed to publish notices in the Government Gazette and local community newspapers, inviting members of the public to submit comments to the NNR on matters related to health, safety and environmental concerns associated with the application.

The public comment process concluded on March 16 this year. Subsequently, the NNR project team reviewed the received comments and recommended to the NNR board the necessity for further public consultation on the application. The NNR board, as the decision-making authority, concurred that extended public discourse on health, safety and environmental aspects linked to the long-term operation (LTO) application was essential.

To facilitate public engagement, the NNR board has scheduled public hearings where individuals can present oral statements regarding health, safety and environmental issues tied to the LTO application. These hearings are scheduled for February 3 in Tableview, February 10 in Atlantis, and February 17 in Athlone.

Anyone directly affected by the proposed extension of KNPS's operational life has been encouraged to make representations to the NNR. Representations can be submitted in writing or presented in person.

Interested parties can access detailed information on the hearings, including the schedule and procedures, on the NNR website.