Koeberg nuclear plant Unit 1 shut down today

Unit 1 of Koeberg’s nuclear power station will be shut down from today, 11 November 2013, onwards for a rescheduled refuelling, inspection and maintenance outage, says Eskom.

“As a result, the system is expected to be particularly tight for the next two weeks until two coal-fired generators return to service from maintenance, alleviating the constraint,” said Eskom on Sunday.

Unit 1 is expected to return to service in the fourth week of December 2013, while Unit 2 at Koeberg — which is located in the Western Cape — continues to operate at full power. 

Every 16 to 18 months, each of the two units at Koeberg is shut down for refuelling, inspection and maintenance. The routine shutdowns are 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 these routine planned outages, one third of the used nuclear fuel is replaced with new fuel. Statutory inspections and maintenance are performed, and modifications, that will ensure that international safety standards continue to be met or that improve the plant performance, are implemented.

The scheduled shutdown of Koeberg Unit 1 is part of Eskom’s overall maintenance programme for its fleet of power stations. The shutdown has taken into account Eskom’s plans to keep the lights on and it is not expected to result in a shortage of supply to the Western Cape or the rest of the country.

The power utility undertakes most of the maintenance of power stations during the summer months. There are power station units that are also currently in various stages of their maintenance activities, putting a further strain on the grid.

“The power system remains tight and balancing demand and supply is a daily challenge. We urge all customers to use electricity sparingly and wisely and to switch off, particularly over the evening peak,” said Eskom. 

SourceL SAnews.gov.za

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