Eskom to install new generators at Koeberg nuclear plant by 2021

11 September 2020 (Last Updated September 11th, 2020 15:40)

South African company Eskom reportedly plans to install six new steam generators at its Koeberg nuclear power plant next year.

Eskom to install new generators at Koeberg nuclear plant by 2021
The first of six new generators for South Africa’s only nuclear plant has already been shipped. Credit: Johannes Plenio.

South African company Eskom reportedly plans to install six new steam generators at its Koeberg nuclear power plant next year.

Reuters reported that a Chinese firm has already shipped the first generator for Cape Town, where it will arrive later this month. Accordingly, Eskom remains on track to achieve its target.

Once the 366t generators reach Cape Town, they will be transported to their destination on flat-bed trucks.

The project has cost $256m (ZAR4.3bn). Previously, US-based nuclear power company Westinghouse challenged the project, after it was awarded to then French rival Areva.

Located near Cape Town, Koeberg nuclear power plant is the only commercial nuclear power plant in South Africa. It has been operating since 1985.

Currently, the plant uses two pressurised water reactors, which can generate nearly 1.94GW of electricity.

The original generators served as heat exchangers, creating steam from nuclear heat. These use U-tube piping, known to be vulnerable to cracking.

An Eskom spokesperson said: “We are on track and progressing according to plan for installation during the next unit 1 and 2 outages.

“Construction has finished on three steam generators, and the remaining three for Koeberg Unit 2 are progressing well, even given the Covid-19 pandemic and consequences on productivity.”

An Eskom statement estimates the company will complete the first nuclear generator installation by February next year and the second by September the same year.

Upon completion, the company will store the old radioactive generators at Koeberg, before permanently disposing of them as complete and sealed units at Vaalputs radioactive storage facility in the Northern Cape.