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R20bn life extension of Koeberg power station poses significant risks for South Africa

Editorial manager's note: The assessments in this article are the writer's, as distributed by our substance accomplice, and don't address the perspectives on MSN or Microsoft. 

Arrangements are in progress for the substitution of the six steam generators at Eskom's 1,840MW Koeberg thermal energy plant, in what South Africa's public power utility says is the most mind boggling project attempted at the atomic office since it was authorized approximately 36 years prior in 1985. 

The substitution of three of the steam generators on the 920MW atomic reactor unit 2 is set to begin in January 2022 in a blackout intended to most recent 155 days. From there on, in the event that all works out positively, Eskom will start the substitution of a second arrangement of three steam generators on the 920MW reactor unit 1 in October 2022, in a comparable 155-day arranged blackout. 

Altogether, in this way, Eskom will be without at minimum 920MW of base stock from the thermal energy station for around 10 months between January 2022 and February 2023. This will serve to below's normal energy accessibility factor (EAF) underneath the current EAF of 62% on Eskom's armada of force stations for the beyond a year, and to expand the likelihood of burden shedding during this period. 

The steam generator substitution project is the biggest piece of a midlife renovation and security overhaul at the Koeberg thermal energy plant. The current working permit terminates in 2024 and these updates are needed by the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) to expand the working existence of the atomic office by a further 20 years. 

Financial plan and extent of work 

The underlying life-augmentation project was planned at R20-billion of every 2010, and Eskom has affirmed that while there have been changes to the underlying extent of work throughout the years because of different examinations and reviews directed, the general spending plan stays unaltered. 

Eskom clarifies that there have been a few increments to the extent of work, yet that there have additionally been a few avoidances —, for example, the substitution of the condenser tubes which is not generally thought to be vital. In this way, by and large, there is a decreased extent of work, albeit the general spending plan stays at R20-billion of every 2021 rands. 

The greatest single thing in the extent of work is the substitution of the steam generators at an expense of about R5-billion. As of now there have been critical assembling issues and deferrals in the substitution of the steam generators from the first arranged fruition date of 2018. 

The three-year delay came about because of the rejecting of the underlying steam generator forgings made in France, and the re-production of the steam generators in China. Notwithstanding, Eskom says the additional expenses included have been borne by the worker for hire (Areva/Framatome), and that the general expense of the steam generator substitution, thusly, stays inside the first financial plan. 

Significant expenses 

An expansive breakdown of the significant things and costs making up the R20-billion extent of work for the life-augmentation works is uncovered by Eskom as follows: 

R5-billion: Replacement of the three steam generators on unit 1 and the three steam generators on unit 2, by Framatome/Areva. 

R7-billion: Balance of steam generator substitution project, including in excess of 20 extra plant adjustments coming about because of wellbeing investigations and designing examinations; changes to the feedwater supply and warming frameworks, condensate extraction framework, turbine steam control framework and dampness detachment framework; other help agreements and site offices; project the executives and permitting costs; premium during development; and possibilities. 

R1-billion: Unit 1 reactor head, control pole drive component and reactor in-center instrumentation link substitution. The reactor head on the Unit 2 was supplanted in 2009/10, and is excluded from the spending plan of R20-billion, yet was independently shrouded in the Koeberg support and fix financial plan. 

6-billion: Replacement and augmentation of the PTR stockpiling tanks used to store borated water for the reactor hole and spent fuel cooling framework. 

R2-billion: Long-term blackout explicit upkeep and assessments coming about because of the wellbeing studies. 

1-billion: Procurement for outside occasion flexibility — adaptable crisis gear to oversee serious outer occasions. 

Undisclosed expense: Repairs, adjustments and observing of the reactor control working to incorporate cathodic security to forestall erosion of steel supporting (rebar) in the substantial. 

Undisclosed expense: Replacement of the warmer components on the pressurisers. 

Undisclosed expense: Other plant adjustments and updates for unwavering quality and maintainability, like transformer substitutions, advanced framework overhauls, security framework redesigns, cooling water frameworks, channeling and heat exchangers. 

Undisclosed expense: Aging examinations, examinations and security audits for the life-augmentation of the plant, and readiness of reports to the NNR, including the wellbeing case report to the NNR toward the finish of November 2021, for endorsement of the expansion of the working permit in 2024. 


Eskom has demonstrated that the expense of fixes, renovation or substitution of electrical gear like high-, medium-and low-voltage switchgear, circuit breakers, transformers, electrical assurance hardware and instrumentation are excluded from the R20-billion life-augmentation financial plan, as these things fall inside Koeberg's typical upkeep spending plan. 

Also, any work done on the steam turbines like the substitution of the turbine rotors and rewinding of the electric power generators is excluded from the R20-billion financial plan, however is covered by the typical upkeep financial plan. Eskom says there is broad internet based condition checking gear accommodated the turbines and generators, and this work is along these lines done as and when required, and doesn't frame part of the life-expansion project. 

Eskom additionally affirmed that fixes and upkeep of the cooling seawater admission to the power station is continuous. Eskom added that the seawater admission is fundamentally solid, yet because of the forceful saltwater climate, common work upkeep and fixes have been in progress since the beginning of Koeberg. This work proceeds even today, and will be progressing over the course of the following 20 years following the existence expansion. Once more, Eskom says these expenses don't frame part of the R20-billion life augmentation spending plan, however are covered by the typical support and fix spending plan for Koeberg. 

Extra dangers 

At a new media instructions, Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer demonstrated an extra danger to the Koeberg life-augmentation project coming about because of the deficiency of key talented work force at the thermal energy station. He expressed that he was "anxious yet sure" that the extra arranging work done would empower Eskom to execute the works appropriately with practically no significant issues. 

Notwithstanding, the last wellbeing case report for the life-augmentation project actually must be presented by Eskom to the NNR before the finish of November 2021 for endorsement. This presents an extremely close timetable for Eskom to resolve any issues raised by the NNR, directly over the happy season, before the main blackout in January 2022 

Eskom can't say without a doubt that there will be no curve balls in the reaction from the NNR to its security case accommodation toward the finish of November 2021. In any case, except if there are a few "bended balls" emerging, Eskom doesn't anticipate any unforeseen new prerequisites coming from the NNR. 

In complex work of this nature, there is consistently a danger that surprising issues and postponements can emerge that were not at first expected. In any case, Eskom accepts that any such issues can be managed in the typical course of occasions. 

Allow us to trust that Eskom is correct… DM 

Chris Yelland is overseeing head of EE Business Intelligence. 

[hearken id="daily-dissiR20bn life extension of Koeberg power station poses significant risks for South Africa (

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Eskom Koeberg MSN Microsoft. South Africa


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