Load shedding: Delays and resignations at Koeberg bad news for SA

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Load shedding: Delays and resignations at Koeberg bad news for SA

Eskom's Koeberg Power Station. Picture: Eskom

| Just how much trouble is Koeberg in? The Money Show talks to energy analyst Chris Yelland, MD of EE Business Intelligence.

  • Eskom
  • Load shedding
  • The Money Show
  • Bruce Whitfield
  • Andre de Ruyter
  • Chris Yelland
  • Jan Oberholzer
  • Koeberg
  • Riedewaan Bakardien
  • Koeberg delay
  • Nuclear power station

As South Africa strains under the weight of continued rolling blackouts, developments at the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station do not inspire confidence.

The nuclear plant’s two units were meant to be offline for six months each this year for maintenance and refurbishment work.

Work on Unit 2, taken out of service in January, had initially been set for completion by mid-June.

To add to its behind-schedule woes, Koeberg has also seen Chief Nuclear Officer Riedewaan Bakardien resign from Eskom to join a Canadian power utility.

Its Acting GM, Nomawethu Mtwebana, is also leaving on a secondment to the World Association of Nuclear Operators.

Related stories:


Technician’s basic mistake could have shut down Koeberg’s only operating unit

‘Eskom doubles Koeberg shutdown period – posing massive loadshedding risk’


Eskom has said the return of Koeberg’s Unit 2 would add 920 megawatts to the national grid, of course helping to ease load shedding.

CEO André de Ruyter said the work would now be finalised by the end of July.

Eskom's Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town, South Africa. © hijackhippo/123rf.com

Is Koeberg in real trouble?

Bruce Whitfield interviews energy analyst Chris Yelland, MD of EE Business Intelligence.

Yelland gives a guarded answer: “Let’s say the risks of a serious problem are increasing.”

I would not say they’re enormously high, but when the Chief Nuclear Officer of Eskom resigns before a single one of the six steam generators have actually been installed, in the middle of… the most complex operation ever undertaken at Koeberg in the last 20 years, I think there is cause for concern.

Chris Yelland, Energy analyst and MD – EE Business Intelligence

Yelland also notes that Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer has indicated that the situation is seriously worrying to him.

It’s Eskom itself that said that the project is the most complex undertaken since Koeberg was built 40 years ago.

There is also the serious matter of the ageing nuclear plant’s operating license.

This expires in July 2024, by which time Koeberg will have to meet global safety standards to continue operating.

If it’s to continue operating beyond that date it needs a new operating license… to do this a number of works have to be completed to the satisfaction of the International Nuclear regulator…

Chris Yelland, Energy analyst and MD – EE Business Intelligence

One of them is the replacement of the six steam generators… there are three steam generators per reactor… These are massive pieces of equipment and the complexity of the task cannot be underestimated.

Chris Yelland, Energy analyst and MD – EE Business Intelligence

Listen to Yelland’s analysis on The Money Show:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Load shedding: Delays and resignations at Koeberg bad news for SA

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