South Africa
Koeberg nuclear power plant - photo by Bjorn Rudner

Eskom’s Koeberg nuclear power station today turned on its temporary mobile groundwater desalination plant, which will ease the pressure on the City of Cape Town’s water supply.

“When the City of Cape Town called on the people of the Western Cape to address the water issue, we had to respond with a sustainable solution as a responsible corporate citizen,” Velaphi Ntuli, Koeberg Power Station manager said.

Ntuli explained: “The desalination plant is part of Koeberg’s three-pronged water management strategy to address the current water shortages in the Western Cape while ensuring that the plant is able to provide safe and sustainable electricity.

“This strategy includes reducing the power station’s daily water usage, keeping adequate on-site water storage and looking at alternative water supplies (groundwater and sea water).”

He added: “To this end, we have saved approximately 115,000 kl since June 2017, compared to previous averages.  This equates to the City of Cape Town supplying 10.5 kl of water to approximately 11,000 houses for a month. Our water tanks are kept full to cater for emergencies.”

Velaphi Ntuli, Koeberg Power Station manager, and Dave Nicholls, Eskom's chief nuclear officer, cut the ribbon at the official desalination plant opening.

Ground water desalination system

The Koeberg facility has a water storage facility on site, which acts as a buffer and enables the plant to run for two weeks in the event of a water shortage – this power station can only operate about two weeks without off-site potable water.

The desalination solution was therefore quite important to ensure continuity of supply, the parastatal stressed.

The temporary ground water desalination plant will produce 920m3/day. This water will be used for the plant's process purposes, and human consumption in buildings and areas within the power station's direct water reticulation network.

It is worth noting that Koeberg saves 22 billion litres of fresh water per annum as its condensers are cooled by means of sea water – the brine (waste) is returned to the sea after use.

The temporary desalination plant is developed under a Build Own Operate agreement between the utility and South African water treatment solutions firm, Veolia.

According to utility sources, the contract is valid for a 12-month period from date of operation, with option to extend to 18 months. This should allow for enough time to bring the permanent plant online – expected to come into operation in Q1 2019.

The parastatal said in a statement that the permanent ground water desalination plant will produce 1,440m3/day.

This water will be used for process purposes and human consumption in the buildings and areas within the power station's direct water reticulation network.

 

Feature image: Koeberg - by Bjorn Rudner