Home South African Eskom insists Koeberg leak is a ‘cry wolf’

Eskom insists Koeberg leak is a ‘cry wolf’

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Eskom has dispelled speculation that an incident during the scheduled maintenance of Koeberg Nuclear Reactor Unit 2 could have led to a major disaster.

Eskom has dispelled speculation that an incident during the scheduled maintenance of Koeberg Nuclear Reactor Unit 2 could have led to a major disaster. Photographer: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

ESKOM has dispelled speculation that an incident at the scheduled maintenance of Koeberg Nuclear Reactor Unit 2 could have led to a major disaster.

“Those reports are based on an internal Eskom newsletter to staff at Koeberg. We always have the newsletter to communicate on as part of discussion of safety issues. It is true the technicians picked up on the wrong cables, but that was rectified before it could be a problem, before there was any damage.

“That particular unit (Unit 1) has been online for 141 days since its last outage and is doing well. This was simply internal update to staff to remind them of safety concerns,” Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said on Monday.

Reports last week said that while maintenance was being carried out on Unit 2, a technician cut the valve of the Nuclear Sampling System on Unit 1 instead of the same valve on Unit 2.

Eskom acknowledged that that this was the second time that this had happened in this outage. “This speaks to very poor human performance, and it is an unacceptable practise.”

“It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to use situational awareness when working on the plant and also to be vigilant by ensuring you read and adhere to signage which is protecting the running unit and the protected train.

“Yes, we have been busy in this outage for some time now and fatigue does tend to set in at this juncture, but we cannot afford to make such serious mistakes which could have resulted in serious repercussions,” Eskom said in the newsletter Shutdown Times.

“Our appeal is that you take care of yourselves, get as much sleep as possible, eat healthy and should you feel unfit to do the job, inform your supervisor so that alternative arrangements can be made. We need to keep our plant ourselves and our colleagues safe all the time,” it said.

Mantshantsha said as the problem was stopped early enough, the possibility of higher stages of load-shedding were avoided as Unit 1, where the error occurred, was the only remaining leg, as Unit 2 was under rehabilitation.

“We could have added another stage of loadshedding,” he said.

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