Alan Winde, Premier of the Western Cape, is concerned about the ongoing delays with renovation work at the Koeberg nuclear power plant, as it is an “essential part of the power supply mix in the Western Cape”.
The facility was due to be decommissioned in July next year, but it was decided to proceed with an application for extended use – among other things to help cope with load shedding.
However, the necessary renovation work to obtain a license for extended use is far behind schedule.
Unit 1 was due to be put back into service in July, but is not expected to be brought back online until September or October.
“This is extremely worrying for all Western Cape people,” says Winde.
Dr. Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa also recently expressed his concern about the progress. In light of this, says Winde, it is fair to ask the minister to “do everything in his power to determine what exactly is delaying the process, what is needed to speed up the work and to give South Africans confidence in him take” about what gave rise to the delays.
“It is even more important to know what steps are being taken to protect our power supply depending on the delays.”
Shortly after Ramokgopa was appointed minister, Winde met with him about Koeberg. The minister had already warned then that there was a 45-day delay in bringing unit 1 of the plant online.
“I then shared my concerns with the minister, but since then it seems as if the situation has only worsened,” says Winde.
When renovation work on unit 1 is finally completed, unit 2 must be taken off line for about nine months for similar renovation work. Winde warns this is likely to lead to more outages in the coming two years.
Each unit at Koeberg provides 920 MW of generation capacity.
“If both units are out of action at the same time, load shedding will worsen significantly.
“The Western Cape is in a particularly difficult situation and it will be disastrous for our residents and our economy.”
Winde says he will discuss the issue with Eskom again next week.
“In the meantime, I appeal to the minister to prioritize the Koeberg project. My energy team and I stand ready to help wherever we can.”