Koeberg shut down due to corrosion

2010-03-13 15:18

Cape Town - The Koeberg nuclear power station would be shut down to "mitigate" a possible risk in one of its water cooling systems, a spokesman said on Saturday.

Eskom spokesperson Tony Stott said there was corrosion on the system that took in sea water to cool down some components in the reactor buildings.

"It is not the system that cools down the reactor of condenses steam from the turbine," he said.

"The cooling system for the turbine is a closed system and does not come into contact with the environment."

Stott said the planned shut-down was not part of Koeberg's normal shut-downs, that occurs every 18 months.

"It is just a precautionary measure," he said.

"We want to keep the risk during the World Cup as low as possible."

Stott said Eskom made an assessment of all the potential risks at all its power stations before the World Cup. A schedule of short duration shutdowns was implemented to undertake maintenance at stations where problems were identified.

He said the cooling system at Koeberg where the risk was found cooled some components and structures in the reactor buildings.

"Some off the rubber lines came loose and because we use sea water it causes corrosion on the steel piping," he said.

It was a long term risk.

Each of the two Koeberg units would be shut down for between seven and 14 days respectively, at different times during March and April.

Stott said the shut-downs would not cause power outages in the Western Cape or in the rest of the country.

"We are slotting in and scheduling the maintenance work on the power stations so that we have enough capacity to meet the demand," he said.

"It does increase the risk of power outages if something else goes wrong and another power station has to shut down completely."

Stott requested all power consumers to be prudent and not to waste electricity and to implement energy saving measures wherever possible.