Another Incident With Potentionally Devastating Consequences at South Africa’s Nuclear Power Plant

  • In an internal Koeberg newsletter titled ‘The Shutdown Times’, it was reported that a technician onsite at the nuclear power plant inadvertently cut a valve on the reactor known as Unit 1, instead of the same valve on Unit 2, which has been shut down for scheduled maintenance since January.
  • Koeberg had to implement a work stoppage to Unit 1 to ensure that the unit did not fail completely.

The article reads as follows:

‘As nuclear professionals we should know when to stop & re-assess our actions in interests of both conventional & nuclear safety. In light of this, we have had to implement a work stop following a significant incident, which could have resulted in us losing the running unit. While carrying out the required maintenance on Unit 2, an individual cut the valve of the Nuclear Sampling System’s 1 REN 168 VB on Unit 1, instead of the same valve on Unit 2.

This was eventually identified and classified as a significant error because it had the potential to amongst other risks, drain the accumulator of the Safety Injection System tank 1 RIS 002 BA. Yes team, as painful as it is to talk about it, it has to be addressed as it could have had devastating consequences.

What makes this incident even more concerning, is the fact that it is the second time that this has happened in this outage. This speaks to very poor human performance, and it is an unacceptable practice.’

Related news: South Africa: Life-Extension of Koeberg Nuclear Power Station Poses Significant Risks

Eskom recently deferred Steam Generator Replacement at Unit 2 explaining that  that due to the potential severe impact of returning this unit later than June 2022 as initially planned, the decision has been made to defer the SGR to the next outage on this unit, planned for August 2023. Read more

Related news: South Africa’s energy minister fires civil society member from Koeberg Board

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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