Eskom says that Unit 1 of Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town will be shut down on Monday 11 November 2013 for a rescheduled refuelling, inspection and maintenance outage. As a result, the system is expected to be particularly tight for the next two weeks until two coal-fired generators return to service from maintenance, alleviating the constraint.
Unit 2 at Koeberg continues to operate at full power. Koeberg Unit 1 is expected to return to service after its refuelling, inspection and maintenance outage in the fourth week of December 2013.
Each of the two units at Koeberg is shut down for refuelling, inspection and maintenance approximately every 16 – 18 months. These routine shutdowns 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.
During these routine planned outages, one third of the used nuclear fuel is replaced with new fuel, statutory inspections and maintenance are performed, and modifications, that will ensure that international safety standards continue to be met or that improve the plant performance, are implemented.
The scheduled shutdown of Koeberg Unit 1 is part of Eskom’s overall maintenance programme for its fleet of power stations. The shutdown has therefore been taken into account into Eskom’s plans to keep the lights on, and is not expected to result in a shortage of supply to the Western Cape or the rest of the country.
However, as has been previously communicated, Eskom undertakes most of the maintenance of the power stations during the summer months. There are power station units that are also currently in various stages of their maintenance activities, which puts further strain on the grid.
The power system remains tight and balancing demand and supply is a daily challenge. Eskom urges all of its customers to use electricity sparingly and wisely and to switch off, particularly over the evening peak.