Koeberg nuclear power station, Bjorn Rudner
Pic credit: Bjorn Rudner

On Wednesday, Eskom’s Koeberg Unit 2 resumed operation after a planned outage that lasted for 36 days.

The state-owned utility said in a statement that outage 222 – the twenty-second outage on Unit 2 – is the second shortest outage performed in the station’s history.

The shortest outage was a 32-day outage on Unit 1 in 1999, the parastatal highlighted.

Koeberg Unit 2 down for maintenance

According to the parastatal, outage 222 was a maintenance and refueling outage, requiring the reactor to be shut down as not all work can be done while the unit is in operation.

During this outage, about one third of the fuel in the reactor core is replaced with new fuel.

Velaphi Ntuli, Koeberg Nuclear Power Station manager, said: “An outage at a nuclear installation requires detailed planning in order to ensure that nuclear safety is not compromised and that the unit starts generating power again as soon as possible.”

He added: “With Koeberg being a baseload power station (which runs continuously unless it is taken out of service for an outage), the nuclear professionals working at the power station are fully aware of the need for the power station to have both units running at full capacity.”

According to Ntuli, the maintenance team “safely executed approximately 15,300 activities, following strict protocols, to ensure that the unit runs reliably until its next refueling outage.”

During Unit 2’s outage, Unit 1 was operating at 100% power, quietly powering up the City of Cape Town.

It will take a few days for Unit 2 to get up to 100% reactor power as several tests need to be performed as it increases in power output.

 

Featured image: Bjorn Rudner