- South Africa’s state owned energy utility, Eskom has announced that an increasing leak rate was observed on one of three steam generators in Unit 1 of its Koeberg nuclear power station.
- The leak was confirmed by other plant measurement readings.
Eskom has assured that the leak rate was well within the safety limits and there is no risk to plant, personnel, or the environment. However, a conservative decision was made to take Koeberg Unit 1 offline for repairs. During this period the unit will also undergo its routine maintenance and refuelling, which was originally scheduled to start during February. The unit is expected to return to service during May 2021.
The steam generator is a tubular heat exchanger which mechanically dries the steam produced during the nuclear power generation process. Shutting down the plant takes several hours, and the process is still underway – once shut down, fuel will be unloaded from the reactor core to enable maintenance activities to be conducted, and the cause of the increased leak rate to be addressed.
In their press release, Eskom does not specify whether the faulty generator is one of the new steam generators which started arriving in October 2020. Read more
Koeberg’s second unit, continues to safely operate and generate at full power.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal