Eskom has decided to delay the start of the outage of unit one at the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station.

It is now set to go ahead on Saturday – but that depends on the state of the grid.

The unit was originally scheduled for shutdown on Thursday, but Eskom says it wants to allow time for the recovery of some generation capacity before the outage.

That outage is for refuelling and maintenance and is planned for a duration of about 6 months.

The power utility says the unit was last shutdown over a year ago.

In a statement published on Thursday, the power utility noted that all resources were ready to commence with the outage, but grid stability must be considered.

“Eskom is ready to commence with the outage, with the contractors and all the requisite resources on standby, grid stability is an important consideration prior to shutting down the Unit 1 reactor to commence the maintenance and refuelling outage… Koeberg Unit 1 has been online for 407 days since the last outage.”

The power utility says the nuclear power station is an important part of generating its electricity, for various reasons including reliable operation and low costs.

“This is going to be a long but necessary outage – the first of its kind for Koeberg. Eskom has taken care to ensure no undue delays are experienced once the project gets under way.”

Meanwhile, the Koeberg’s unit two was marred with operational challenges and delays, ultimately resulting in a lack of energy availability throughout the year.

Planned maintenance on that unit, as well as unit one, will see 920 megawatts of electricity put offline, from this December until June next year, and then again around August for another six months.


Image: Eskom website