Question NW2065 to the Minister of Public Enterprises

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30 June 2023 - NW2065

Profile picture: Cachalia, Mr G K

Cachalia, Mr G K to ask the Minister of Public Enterprises

(1) What (a) are the reasons that the preparation for repairs and maintenance on the unit at the Koeberg Power Station has only been affected recently when it was first mooted three years ago and (b) has occurred that has resulted in more delays; (2) whether the preparation is a scramble to ensure that the licence is renewed; if not, what steps were taken to ensure that the licence is renewed; if so, what are the reasons for this; (3) (a) how old are the carnes at Koeberg, (b) on what date were they last serviced and (c) what total number of cranes are currently broken; (4) what confidence does this provide for the second unit due to come offline for maintenance?


According to the information received from Eskom:

(1)(a) Significant maintenance, modifications and any necessary repairs are performed

when a Koeberg unit is shut down for refueling (generally every 15 months per unit).

(b) The Koeberg Unit 1 delays being experienced in the current shutdown, Outage 126 (O126), are related to the execution of the project to replace the steam generators, which is not a standard maintenance activity, but rather a significant first-of-a-kind construction project seen by Eskom as a pre-requisite for Koeberg life extension.

The steam generator replacement was deferred from outages 225 (due to poor preparedness displayed in the initial phases on execution, and the unacceptable schedule updates influenced by the state of readiness of some of the facilities).

The delays during the current steam generator installation on Unit 1 are mainly due to overly optimistic planning in establishing the original base plan and the emergence of unexpected plant conditions (technical challenges). Due to the size of the project, the contractor sub-contracted and trained local companies to participate in the project, at various skill levels. Unfortunately, the efficiency of the local workforce to operate within the nuclear environment was over-estimated resulting in constant schedule slippage. It is important to note that the quality of the welding being performed by the local contractor has been of an exceptionally high standard, and therefore there has been no delay due to the actual workmanship.

(2) The replacement of the steam generators is the last of the major and largest plant

components that require replacement as part of the nuclear regulatory licence application to extend the operational life of Koeberg. The other large components were replaced a few years ago in previous outages.

The steam generator replacement was originally meant to be performed in the previous

outages on each unit, but it was postponed to the current outage on Unit 1 (O126) and the upcoming outage on Unit 2 (O226), due to a lack of readiness to execute, as the delay could be tolerated without impacting the licence application.

(3)(a) The cranes in use at Koeberg were installed during the construction of the plant in the early 1980’s.

(b) These cranes have routinely undergone the required maintenance and testing to ensure safe usage. Furthermore, the cranes being used during the steam generator replacement on Unit 1 were all serviced, and load tested prior to use during the current outage.

(c) Only one of the cranes had a defect and this caused a minimal contribution to the overall delay. The delay due to the crane was mitigated by the interim use of a mobile crane.

  1. Eskom and the contractor(s) are integrating the lessons learnt from the current Unit 1 outage into the planning and preparation for the upcoming intervention on Unit 2 (O226). The technical challenges that were experienced will be anticipated and the planning will reflect a more realistic schedule for this intervention, which is a significant undertaking in the life of Koeberg.

Remarks: Approved / Not Approved

Jacky Molisane PJ Gordhan, MP

Acting Director-General Minister of Public Enterprises

Date: Date: