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  • Nuclear nightmare: Koeberg may cause ‘energy grid collapse’ in SA

    Nuclear nightmare: Koeberg may cause ‘energy grid collapse’ in SA

    After a hectic start to September for Eskom, arguably its worst ‘problem child’ could end up heaping more misery on South Africans. We’ve had to battle with Stage 4 load shedding over the past few days – but the issues at Koeberg Nuclear Plant could eclipse all of this.

    Photo: Koeberg is situated some 30km outside of Cape Town. – Photo: Flickr / JHOD

    What is going on at Koeberg Nuclear Plant?

    That’s because there are genuine concerns that Koeberg’s current state of disrepair could lead to ‘total grid collapse’. Kevin Mileham, the shadow minister of energy for the DA, is worried about the nuclear facility’s long-term future. He believes it now requires salvaging.

    The plant, he says, is in desperate need of a renewed ‘life extension project’. With just over a year to go before the possible expiration of Koeberg’s operating licence, Mileham and his colleagues have proposed the following actions to help save the troubled plant.

    • The DA have submitted a ‘freedom of information’ request, to access a recent report into Koeberg’s ‘long term safety prospects’.
    • DA officials have also asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to provide ‘short-term technical assistance’ to the plant.
    • It is hoped that this approach will speed-up the project to extend Koeberg’s operational lifespan BEYOND 2024.
    • Ramaphosa is being urged to accelerate the steps he set out back in July. This was for the ‘Energy Response Plan’.
    • According to the opposition, more needs to be done to recruit former senior Eskom experts, and to stop institutional sabotage.
    • The DA has also tracked SA’s progress on securing power from other countries. It’s an area which they say needs ‘major improvements’.

    How to fix the problem child? – DA submit their ideas

    With South Africa’s electricity grid already in turmoil, any possible suspension of activities at Koeberg Nuclear Plant could have catastrophic consequences. A total collapse would lead to a nationwide energy blackout. This, at a time where Eskom is already operating at ‘Code Red’.

    “The DA has today taken active steps to expose the veil of secrecy around the Koeberg nuclear power plant and the requisite action that must be taken to salvage the plant’s life extension project to prevent a possible grid collapse.”

    “With Eskom announcing recently that the ‘likely risk scenario’ for load shedding is rated high, our power outlook for the year ahead is grim. There is an unfolding crisis at Koeberg. Therefore, it must be attended to promptly to protect operational safety and guarantee grid security.” | Kevin Mileham

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