Energy

Government releases false Koeberg information

The government has published false information about the Koeberg Power Station, which hides the truth from South Africans.

Last week, the South African Government News Agency, published by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), released information about the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station.

It claimed that “Eskom’s generation capacity is expected to receive a boost by 1,860 MW when units 1 and 2 at Koeberg Power Station return to commercial availability on November 3 and November 7”.

It added that the two units have been offline on a planned refuelling and maintenance outage since late last year.

“The power utility said the maintenance project is to make the nuclear power station more efficient and add a further 27 MW to the power station’s output.”

The replacement of the steam generators is the last major plant component out of three to be replaced at the unit as part of the Long-Term Operation (LTO) project.

The other two components – the Refuelling Water Storage Tanks and the Reactor Vessel Closure Heads – have been replaced in previous years.

The first statements are false and have been slated by energy experts as misleading South Africans about what is truly happening.

“One has to wonder whether people in the party, government, and public actually believe such nonsense and misinformation put out in an official government communication?” energy analyst Chris Yelland asked.

Energy analyst Chris Yelland

The real story about Koeberg

Koeberg has two generating units capable of producing 920 MW each, roughly equivalent to one stage of load-shedding per unit.

The nuclear power plant is being refurbished to extend its operating life, with the steam generators in both units set to be replaced.

The steam generator replacement on Unit 1 was initially set to occur between February and June 2021 and Unit 2 between January and May 2022.

However, both projects experienced significant delays, and the project only started in mid-December 2022. Unit 1 has been down since then.

There have been numerous delays caused by mismanagement, which means Unit 1 will only return to service in November 2023 instead of the planned July 2023.

As a result of Unit 1’s delayed return to service, the maintenance of Unit 2 has also been pushed back. It will now only start in November 2023 instead of the planned September 2023.

This is to avoid both Koeberg generation units being offline simultaneously, causing two additional load-shedding stages.

The situation is so concerning that Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa called it “very, very worrying”.

So, the government’s claim that Eskom’s generation capacity will get a boost of 1,860 MW in November 2023 when the two Koeberg units return to service is false.

Instead, after numerous delays, one unit will return to service, after which the other unit will be taken offline.

The real story is that South Africa faced higher load-shedding levels because of the poor way Eskom handled the Koeberg refurbishment project.

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