South Africa: Koeberg Unit 1 Nuclear Reactor Trips

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  • Eskom can confirm that Koeberg Unit 1 Reactor tripped at 16:30 on Monday, 30 August 2021, due to a fault on the electrical breaker to one of the primary coolant pumps.
  • Eskom has confirmed that the reactor was then safely shut down by the operators, in compliance with the operating procedure.

Initial fault-finding ruled out any concerns on the primary pump or the motor itself. There are no nuclear safety concerns reports Eskom.

By mid-morning yesterday the cause of the trip has been confirmed to be a faulty electrical protection relay, which tripped the primary motor. The secondary side was already fully conditioned and on standby, waiting for the reactor and the primary system to be returned to service.

About once a week a truck containing low to medium radioactive waste travels from Koeberg to Vaalputs in the Northern Cape. Here it is buried underground in sealed container drums. Image credit: National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute (NRWDI)

Only once an assessment of the protection relay is complete, together with the analysis of the trip, the unit will be returned to service.

The unit shutdown and response were straight forward, and no safeguard systems were required to operate. The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) does not need to approve the restart, although the regulator is kept informed of the situation, the findings and the actions being taken.

Koeberg Unit 1 will be returned to service during the weekend, according to Eskom.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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