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Saturday, 18 November 2023 22:22

Koeberg's Unit 1 has been synchronised to the grid after a year-long outage.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

State owned power utility Eskom has announced that Unit 1 at nuclear power station – Koeberg – has been successfully synchronised to the grid.

Koeberg is the only nuclear power station in South Africa with a total capacity of 1 860MW (about 5% of total electricity generated by Eskom). The two units at the station are the largest generating units in Africa.

Eskom announced today that this will continue until the start of its next outage, which will include the replacement of its original three steam generators.

The outage on Unit Two will start once Unit One is stable and the required commissioning tests are done. 'We are pleased by the synchronisation of Koeberg’s Unit 1 to the grid today.

"This milestone is a result of the hard work and determination of the Eskom employees, suppliers, and contractors who have had to endure a long and challenging outage in the Koeberg Power Station's history, 'says Eskom's Group Executive for Generation, Bheki Nxumalo. "I commend everyone involved in the project for ensuring that the unit was returned to service safely."

Each unit generates 920MW - or one stage of load shedding.

During the project, Eskom and French nuclear contractor Framatome have clashed repeatedly, with Framatome having lodged around 200 claims for delays, running into billions.

When the steam generator project is completed, Eskom intends to conduct pressure tests on the buildings, requiring another 200-day outage for each unit.

It is hoped that Unit 2 will be online with new steam generators by July 2024. Unit 1 will then be taken offline for the 200-day pressure test, followed by Unit 2.