Unit 1 up and running again

After 42 days of maintenance and refuelling, Koeberg power station’s Unit 1 reactor is back online.

The reactor was taken off the grid on Monday September 19, making this the shortage outage the plant has seen since 1998, says Eskom.

The unit was operating at 30 percent capacity while the final start-up tests and commissioning checks were being done, the parastatal said in a statement.

The power would be increased over the next few days to reach full operating capacity.

“At full load, Koeberg Unit 1 will be sending out 960MW to the national electricity grid. We are implementing our maintenance plan to increase the reliability of our plant, which will, in turn, increase our operating reserves and stabilise the grid,” the statement said.

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

Every 15 to 18 months, each of the two units at Koeberg was shut down for refuelling, inspection and maintenance. This routine maintenance was part of Eskom’s overall maintenance programme for its fleet of generation units.

Outages were 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 the routine outages, one third of the used nuclear fuel was replaced with new fuel. Maintenance, plant modifications, inspections and statutory work to ensure that international safety standards continued to be met and that reliable plant performance continued, were performed.