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Koeberg nuclear plant refurbishment costs

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By Lee-Yandra Paulsen

 

Eskom briefed the Portfolio Committee on Energy in Parliament, about the Technical and Regulatory Actions required to submit a safety operation of the Koeberg nuclear plant for an additional 20 years until 2044 for Unit 1 and until 2045 for Unit 2. However, the power utility has not revealed the estimated costs for the refurbishment of the power plant as yet.

Energy activist and member of the Koeberg Alert Alliance Peter Becker, spoke to Drive Time on Thursday about what it would cost to extend the lifespan of the Koeberg Power Plant. “Koeberg was first brought online in the early or mid-1980’s and its lifespan which is 40 years will end in July 2024. What Eskom announced is that they want to run it for an extra 20 years,” said Becker.

For Eskom to extend the lifespan of Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant, it will need the approval of the National Nuclear Regulator. The National Nuclear Regulator is the entity that controls the issuing of nuclear licenses in South Africa. According to Becker, Eskom was supposed to submit an application in 2018, but only submitted the application last year. Eskom now has a problem as it cannot wait for the regulators approval for refurbishments and has therefore started work on the power plant without the approval.

Becker stated that the power utility took unit 2 offline in January 2022 and unit 1 offline in December 2022 which has added one stage of loadshedding to the grid.

“The mere fact of Koeberg being offline for six months has cost the economy R311 billion. Eskom will be doing this three times so it will cost the economy approximately a trillion rand just by having those units offline,” commented Becker.

Becker said that we need energy generation from Koeberg now, as the government has plans in place for 30 Gigawatts of Renewable Energy in the pipeline which should be completed in 18-24 months’ time. He further stated that energy from Koeberg is important now and Eskom taking it offline to refurbish it and to put it online after 2025 is nonsensical.

Eskom estimated back in 2010 that the cost of the refurbishments for Koeberg will be R20 billion in the first half of the project and recently said it will cost R21 billion, according to Becker. He said that in 10 years the price could have never only gone up by R1 billion, he therefore estimates that with inflation and the rand/dollar price, refurbishments will cost R68-R70 billion.

VOC News

Photo: Eskom


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