First replacement steam generators arrive at Koeberg

30 September 2020

The first of six replacement steam generators for South Africa's only operating nuclear power plant have arrived at the Koeberg site, plant owner and operator Eskom has announced. Steam generator replacement is part of a ZAR20 billion (USD1.2 billion) programme to extend by 20 years the operating life of the two-unit plant.

The longest trailer in South Africa is being used to transport the steam generators the 40 km by road from Cape Town Harbour to Koeberg (Image: Eskom)

The first three steam generators, which weigh about 380 tonnes each and are about 20 metres long, are to be installed into Koeberg unit 1 between February and June 2021, Eskom said. They will be housed in a specially built facility on the Koeberg site until the old steam generators are removed from the plant during the unit's next outage.

The current steam generators have been in use since the plant began operations in 1984. On removal from the plant, the old steam generators will be stored on-site, where they will be packaged and dismantled for final disposal at the national nuclear waste repository. The repository is the responsibility of the National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute.

In 2014, Eskom signed a ZAR 4.3 billion contract with Areva - now Orano - to design, manufacture and install the replacement steam generators, which are being made in China under subcontract by Shanghai Electric Power Equipment Company.

The twin pressurised water reactors at Koeberg were built by Framatome, with unit 1 beginning commercial operation in 1984 and unit 2 the following year. The replacement of Koeberg 2's steam generators is planned to take place during the unit's scheduled maintenance and refuelling outage between January and May 2022.

South African Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe told the IAEA General Conference earlier this month that nuclear power will continue to play a pivotal role in South Africa's energy mix. In addition to the work to extend Koeberg's operational period, the country has begun consultations with reactor suppliers to provide costing and schedule information, and possible ownership models, for 2500 MW of new capacity through a Request for Information that was issued in June.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News