Eskom's Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Eskom's Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Eskom will take units at Koeberg offline this year for maintenance, increasing the risk of power cuts for SA after record outages in 2021. 

The extended unavailability of the units with capacity of 920MW each due to the “planned long outages does mean the electricity supply system may be under additional strain during the coming year”, Eskom said in statement on its Twitter account.

Unit 2 of the Cape Town nuclear power station will be taken offline for five months from January 17 for refuelling and maintenance, which will include the replacement of three steam generators, Eskom said. That will be followed by maintenance at unit 1 over a similar time period, it said.

South Africans will soon be facing a possible return to darkness after Eskom warned of looming system constraints, due to the extended unavailability of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station’s units in 2022 due to planned outages.

This comes as the country experienced record outages last year. The energy supply has been patchy since 2005, with loss-making Eskom struggling to keep pace with demand. 

The frequent power cuts have undermined efforts to revive the coronavirus-battered economy, and President Cyril Ramaphosa said last year they partly contributed to the ANC’s worst-ever electoral showing in November’s municipal vote.

“This is going to be a long, but needed outage — the first of its kind for Koeberg. Our staff are prepared and committed to make history by ensuring success of this project,” Riedewaan Bakardien, Eskom’s chief nuclear officer, said. 

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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