Eskom submits safety case to extend Koeberg’s operation

28 July 2022

South Africa's National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) says it has received the safety case from Eskom in support of its application to extend the operational life of the Koeberg nuclear power plant beyond its current licence term of 40 years.

The Koeberg units began commercial operation in 1984 and 1985 (Image: Eskom)

The application is to extend by 20 years to 2045 the operational life of Koeberg, which has two 900 MWe pressurised water reactors. It was submitted last year.

The safety case to back up the application has now been submitted, within the required timelines to provide "adequate time for the regulator to assess the safety case".

The NNR said Eskom was in the process of finalising the Public Information Document (PID) and will have to publish both the application and the PID in the government gazette, newspapers and to serve notices to interested and affected parties.

Peter Bester, programme manager, nuclear power plant, at NNR, said: "We are beginning a process of robust scrutiny of the safety case on which we will report our progress and findings, including public comments received in a Safety Evaluation Report to the NNR Board of Directors."

Earlier this year the Long Term Operation (LTO) plan for the plant was examined by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA's) Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation (SALTO) review mission, which took place from 22-31 March at the request of South Africa's Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and reviewed the plant’s preparedness, organisation and programmes for safe LTO.

Team leader Gabor Petofi, senior nuclear safety officer at the IAEA, said staff were "professional, open and receptive to suggestions for improvement - despite challenges, the plant has eliminated several deviations from IAEA Safety Standards in ageing management activities and preparation for safe LTO identified during the Pre-SALTO mission in 2019."

He added: "The SALTO team encourages Eskom and the plant management to address further findings made by this latest mission and to implement all remaining activities for safe LTO."

"We appreciate the IAEA support in plant ageing management and preparation for safe LTO," said Riedewaan Bakardien, Eskom's chief nuclear officer, adding that "the results of this mission will help us finalise our activities for safe LTO in alignment with IAEA Safety Standards."

The team identified good practices that could be shared with the industry globally, such as integrating a corrective action programme to extensively consider operating experience for LTO and using a template to collect information from the original equipment manufacturers to establish the extended qualified life of electrical components.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News