sponsored by

© RW Baker
terms of use


Koeberg Nuclear Power Station

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 situated 27km north of Cape Town on the Atlantic coast to the north of Melkbos (Duynefontein), next to the SA Police Training College. There has been some criticism of the site selection.

Latest: It wasn't a bolt that damaged the rotor
Nuclear fuel & enrichment
Plans for a new Power Station at Koeberg
Safety record up to November 2005
Safety record since November 2005
Safety systems
Emergency evacuation plan
Emergency evacuation modelling
Koeberg Nuclear Power Station


Koeberg is operated by Eskom, the South African National power utility. There are approximately 1 200 employees involved at Koeberg.

Builders & suppliers

Koeberg was built by the French consortium Framateg. The turbine-generator sets were provided by Alsthom.

Reactor type

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.

Technical details

Koeberg supplies approximately 6,5 percent of South Africa’s total electricity needs.

How is it cooled?

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.

Why 30km north of Cape Town?

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:


Koeberg boasts the largest turbine generators in the Southern Hemisphere and is the most southerly situated nuclear power station on the planet.

Koeberg's private game reserve

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.

Tensions with nearby residential areas

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.

Other African nuclear reactors

Koeberg offers Africa's only two commercial nuclear reactors. Two small research reactors were previously operated at Pelindaba.

Quotes about Koeberg Nuclear Power Station