What is describe as South Africa’s most complex project ever is running a bit late as oppose to the original plans. Well, the nation knows that the nuclear facility which was commissioned some 36years agos in 1985 will surely pose some challenges.
Plans were made in 2022 and early 2023 as the nuclear power plant was schedule for a number of upgrade to extend its operational life for a further 20 years.
Such plans include, the replacement of three of the stream generators which was set to start this month with a process set to last for 155days. However, it was now increase to six new steam generator at Eskom’s Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, but sadly that is also running late after it was set to kick-off 6days ago (5 Jan 2022).
The aim was to replace three steam generators on each of the two 920MW nuclear reactors as well as the replacement of the reactor head, control rod drive mechanism and the reactor in-core instrumentation cables on one of the nuclear reactors.
While the work for life extension includes; replacement and enlargement of the PTR(pool test reactor), repairs, modification and monitoring of reactor containment buildings, replacement of the heater elements and other plant modifications and upgrades for reliability and sustainability.
SO WHY THE DELAY?
1. The omicron variant and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult to get international resource on the site.
2. Eskom’s installation safety case has not yet been approved by the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), while the “green light” to start the work has not be receive
The issues needs to be sorted out as the country is currently suffering from load shedding impact at a time when South Africans are having electricity problem with the worest case scenario would be that the life-extension project may not be completed by the time the current operating licence expires in 2024.