Koeberg Nuclear Power Station ("Koeberg") is the only nuclear power station in Africa (the Libyans never quite got it right to start one of their own).
Koeberg is operated by Eskom, the South African National power utility. There are approximately 1 200 employees involved at Koeberg.
Koeberg was built by the French consortium Framateg. The turbine-generator sets were provided by Alsthom.
There are two units, each being a 3-loop uranium pressurised water reactor, based on a design by Framatome (of France). The reactors are based on a design that is similar to in excess of 59 nuclear power stations supplying more than 74% of France's electricity. Each one of the 3 cooling loops is connected to the reactor and a reactor coolant pump and a steam generator. A pressurizer is connected to one of the 3 loops.
If pressurised water reactors lose coolant their core can overheat and damage the plant.
Two 900MW units
Installed capacity: 1 800MW
Design efficiency at rated turbine MCR (%): 32.00%
Average availability over last 3 years: 82.88%
Average production over last 3 years: 11 482GWh
Koeberg supplies approximately 6,5 percent of South Africa’s total electricity needs.
The reactor is cooled by means of cold water pumped in from the Atlantic Ocean through an isolated circuit.
Construction of Koeberg began in 1976 and Unit 1 was synchronised to the grid on 4 April 1984, with Unit 2 following suit on 25 July 1985. The station is 18 years old this year.
Cape Town is situated far from the coalfields of Mpumalanga, and it was therefore considered to be more economical to build a nuclear power station than to transport coal to a power station in Cape Town. The location in Duynefontein, Melkbos was chosen because:
The Duynefontein area is geologically stable
The cold water of the Atlantic Ocean is ideal for cooling
Eskom’s national grid is easily accessible
Koeberg boasts the largest turbine generators in the Southern Hemisphere and is the most southerly situated nuclear power station on the planet.
Koeberg is surrounded by a 22 km² private game reserve owned by Eskom, containing more than 150 species of birds and half a dozen small mammal species.
Koeberg was originally built outside the metropolitan area, but has been encroached in recent years. The plant enforces maximum housing density regulations in case of evacuation, precluding the construction of high rise buildings. This is the source of some tension between residents and Eskom.
Koeberg offers Africa's only two commercial nuclear reactors. Two small research reactors were previously operated at Pelindaba.