R1.6bn upgrade for Koeberg

16 March 2009

French power company Alstom has secured a contract worth approximately €125-million (about R1.6-billion) from South African state company Eskom to upgrade the Koeberg nuclear power station outside Cape Town.

The work will involve retro-fitting the low-pressure turbines of the two 970 MWe units at South Africa’s sole nuclear power plant, increasing the station’s output by over 65 MW, improving availability and reliability, and extending the lifetime of the plant.

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to further build on our relationship with Eskom through the supply of the retrofit for their two steam turbines,” Alstom’s Guy Chardon said in a statement this week.

“We believe nuclear energy offers a carbon-free, efficient, viable alternative for meeting increasing demand for energy.”

The retrofits will be carried out during planned refuelling outages, thus reducing the chance of interruption to generation from the station.

Increasing capacity

Eskom and Alstom have worked together on previous projects such as the retrofitting of the Arnot power plant, an integrated retrofit project providing a capacity increase to that station of more than 300 MW.

The utility also recently placed orders for new equipment contracts with Alstom for the Medupi and Kusile coal-fired power plants, producing 4 800 MW each.

Eskom began construction on the Kusile coal-fired base load power station near Witbank in Mpumalanga province in September last year, while work on the Medupi coal-fired base load power station, near Lephalale in Limpopo province, began in April.

The first of Medupi’s six generating units will be commissioned by early 2011, with the last unit scheduled for commissioning by January 2015. The first of Kusile’s six generating units is scheduled for completion by 2013, followed by the completion on an additional unit after every eight months.

SAinfo reporter

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