eskom

In South Africa, Unit 1 of state-owned Koeberg nuclear power station, will be taken offline for a planned refuelling outage today. This comes after a safe record-setting continuous run of 474 days, the parastatal said in a company statement.

Eskom explained that the refuelling outage takes just over a month and the unit is expected back online towards the end of October 2016.

“Koeberg Unit 1 has been on stream without any interruption since its statutory three-month refuelling outage in February 2015,” the utility said, adding that Unit 2 is currently operating optimally and is contributing 930MW to the national grid.”

Koeberg undergoes routine maintenance

The utility explains that each of the two units is taken offline for refuelling, inspection and maintenance every 15 to 18 months.

Outages are scheduled so as to avoid having both units out of service at the same time and to avoid the winter months in each year, the power company explained.

According to Eskom, one third of the used nuclear fuel is replaced with new fuel during these offline periods.

Maintenance, plant modifications, inspections and statutory work to ensure that international safety standards continue to be met and that reliable plant performance continues, are performed.

“We are implementing our maintenance plan to increase the reliability of our plant, which will in turn increase our operating reserves and stabilise the grid,” the state-owned entity noted.

It added: “It is largely due to this rigorous plant maintenance programme that we have had a stable supply of electricity for over a year now.”

New nuclear procurement

In related nuclear news, South African Minister of Energy, Tina Joematt-Pettersson, has noted press reports related to the Nuclear New Build Programme and has reiterated that the integrity of all aspects of the procurement process will be defended and protected.

According to a statement released by the ministerial office, she said that the National Treasury has engaged with the Director-General of the Department of Energy, as Accounting Officer, on this matter.

She added that the Department will fully cooperate with National Treasury to verify compliance with the Supply Chain Management Norms and Standards.

The Minister will further respond and implement the advice and recommendations of National Treasury as soon as it has concluded its processes, the statement noted.