Reactor offline for maintenance

Koeberg nuclear power plant has shut down one of its two reactors for a “routine” month-long refuelling.

Unit 1 was shut down on Monday September 19 after a “record-setting” continuous run of 474 days, according to a statement from power utility Eskom.

The plant’s second reactor, unit 2, will continue to supply the national grid.

Unit 1 was last taken offline in February 2015 for a three-month refuelling.

“Koeberg unit 2 is currently operating optimally and is contributing 930MW to the national grid.

“Unit 1 is expected to be back online towards the end of October.

“Every 15 to 18 months, each of the two units at Koeberg is shut down for refuelling, inspection and maintenance,” said Eskom.

During the “routine” outage, one third of the used nuclear fuel would be replaced with new fuel.

Maintenance, plant modifications, inspections and statutory work would be done to ensure compliance with international safety standards.

Outages were scheduled to avoid having both units out of service at the same time and to avoid the winter months in each year.

“We are implementing our maintenance plan to increase the reliability of our plant, which will increase our operating reserves and stabilise the grid.

“It is largely due to this rigorous plant maintenance programme that we have had a stable supply of electricity for over a year now,” said the Eskom statement.