Leaky Koeberg steam generator to be repaired, says Eskom

Power utility says the leak poses no danger

04 January 2021 - 14:59 By bobby jordan
Eskom hopes to bring Koeberg Unit 1 back to service by May. File photo.
Eskom hopes to bring Koeberg Unit 1 back to service by May. File photo.
Image: Supplied

A leaky steam generator has prompted Eskom to temporarily shut down one of Koeberg’s two pressurised water nuclear reactors, the power utility said on Monday.

The faulty steam generator, one of three linked to Koeberg’s Unit 1 reactor, had been scheduled to be temporarily shut down in February for routine maintenance. The repairs and maintenance would now be completed concurrently, with the unit due to return to service in May, Eskom said.

“Yesterday [Sunday] afternoon an increasing leak rate was observed on one of three steam generators in Unit 1,” Eskom said in a statement.

“This was confirmed by other plant measurement readings. Although the leak rate was well within the safety limits, a conservative decision was made to take Koeberg Unit 1 offline for repairs.

“Shutting down the plant takes several hours, and the process is still under way. Once shut down, fuel will be unloaded from the reactor core to enable maintenance activities to be conducted, and the cause of the increased leak rate to be addressed,” the statement said.

There was no risk to plant, personnel or the environment, and Koeberg’s other unit continued to operate safely at full power, Eskom said.  

It was not immediately apparent whether the temporary shutdown would increase the likelihood of load-shedding.