Question NW413 to the Minister of Public Enterprises

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25 March 2019 - NW413

Profile picture: Mulder, Dr CP

Mulder, Dr CP to ask the Minister of Public Enterprises

(1)Whether, with reference to the reply by the Minister of Energy to question 3590 on 9 January 2019, there were any incidents at the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station during the period 1 January 2014 to date that could have led to or did lead to leakage or spillage of radioactive waste into the environment; if so, what are the (a) relevant details of each incident and (b) reasons it occurred in the first place; (2) were the surrounding residential areas warned or advised of such leakage or spillage; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (3) what measures (a) were taken to address such events and (b) have been put in place to prevent any such events from recurring?


According to the information received from Eskom

(1) Yes, there has been three (3) incidents where negligible amounts of radioactivity were, or were assumed to have been released to the environment through an unmonitored pathway since 1 January 2014; May 24, October 2015 and November 2015

Releases to the environment are closely monitored and have to respect regulatory limits.Any release that is unmonitored is taken seriously and would be treated as a leak or spillage of radioactive waste.

(1)  (a) (b)

  • All these incidents were reported to the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) in the quarterly Radio Waste and Effluent Report;
  • The normal radio activity levels of what was released were of such levels that there was no impact to staff, members of the public or the environment.

(2)     Assessments have conducted that the maximum amounts of radioactivity that could have been released were well below any regulatory limit and did not require a response or notification of the public.

(3)     Each incident is reportable to the regulator and is thoroughly reviewed by Koeberg to identify the causes, and to determine the appropriate corrective actions.

The following actions were taken and fully implemented in order to prevent human error from happening again when these activities are performed:

  • Malfunctioning equipment was repaired as priority.  The instruction sequence for changing over between Reactor Building ventilation when connected to the plant ventilation system was improved.  Cautions and limitations were added for changing over between modes while performing Reactor Building ventilation system filter efficiency tests during outages before or after reloading fuel into the reactor core.
  • A plant modification to route the water to the Nuclear Island Vents and Drains System in the event of a tank overflow was done in the next Refuelling Shutdown in 2015.
  • The controlling procedure to include a description on the removal and refitting of caps and blanks (outage and non-outage periods) has been updated on any system that is being drained or vented.

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