South Africa

Eskom to stabilise power grid before shutting Koeberg unit down for maintenance

CAPE TOWN – Eskom said that it would stabilise the country's electricity grid before a unit at Koeberg nuclear power station could be shut down.

The parastatal said that the outage was now planned for Saturday.

Unit one will be taken offline for maintenance and refuelling.

READ: How to check your load shedding schedule

Eskom's acting chief nuclear officer, Sadika Touffie, highlighted why it was important to shut the unit down.

"We will need to shut the unit down to refuel the reactor for the next operating cycle. During this period, we will be replacing the steam generators on this unit. It's important for us because the current steam generators that we do have, have reached the end of their lives."

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In light of the current challenges facing the power grid, Touffie explained that 920 megawatts of electricity would be unavailable due to the unit being taken offline.

"It is quite a large amount of energy that is lost on the grid but in terms of the context of the grid, there are other units that are capable of meeting that supply."

Meanwhile, energy experts have again warned that rolling power cuts are here to stay.

This week, households and businesses have had to deal with increased power cuts after Eskom ramped up the power cuts to stage six.

The power utility blamed this on further breakowns at some of its power plants.

Energy analyst, Ruse Moleshe, said that more dark days were imminent.

"We're going to have to live with this problem, unfortunately, because there are no real impact projects that are coming on-stream to be able to mitigate the problem that we are having, so we can expect to continue to have this problem."

Fellow at the University of Cape Town's global risk governance programme, Hilton Trollip, added that Eskom's aging infrastructure was adding to the power supply problems.

"In their last status report and previously, Eskom told us that these stations have been hammered for 20 years. This shortage started building up 20 years ago. the first load shedding was in 2006 in the Western Cape and in 2008 nationally, and there's been a chronic shortage since then."

Artmotion S.Africa

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