11 March 2013 – South Africa’s nuclear power station, Koeberg’s Unit 1, is still being repaired and is expected to return to service only in April 2013. Rigorous testing is performed during the start-up phase and although the electrical fault which originally caused the unit to trip on 20th February 2013 has been dealt with, Eskom is repairing a new fault on a valve which arose as a result of the trip.
While this fault does not endanger the safety of the unit, it is not possible to operate it at full power without it being fully functional. The repair will take some time and hence the delay in returning the unit to service. Koeberg Unit 2 continues to operate at full power.
The transmission line from Cahora Bassa in Mozambique which was damaged by the recent flooding of the Limpopo River is still being repaired. Imports to South Africa from Cahora Bassa are now at 650 MW.
On the 7th of March Eskom had 33,200 MW available, including open cycle gas turbines, while peak demand was 31,200 MW. Planned maintenance stood at about 3,500 MW and unplanned outages at about 5,400 MW.
Eskom says that it continues to make progress with its programme of planned maintenance but the system remains tight.