No safety breaches at Koeberg, says Eskom

Monday, April 1, 2019

Eskom has refuted claims that there have been safety breaches at the Koeberg nuclear power plant in the Western Cape.

Eskom confirmed that both units at the plant are running safely following allegations made in a video recording where a man alleges that there have been nuclear safety breaches at the plant.

The plant’s General Manager, Velaphi Ntuli, said the power station operates within a highly regulated environment guided by the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR).

Koeberg, which is currently producing 1960 MW into South Africa’s power grid, is the country’s sole nuclear power plant.

“Our licence has in place stringent conditions that we always adhere to under close regulation by the NNR. To this end, the information that Mr Petzer [in the video recording] has twisted is from a public document with responses given to Parliament about three incidents,” said Ntuli on Sunday.

Ntuli said in May 2014 and October 2015, small quantities of water, with very low radiation levels, were released to the ocean without adequate monitoring as a result of defective equipment.

In the November 2015 event, a small quantity of air was released from the containment building directly to the atmosphere without going through the monitored path.

“In all these events, the radiation activity levels were determined to be very low and well within the regulatory requirements. These incidents, while negligible, were duly reported to the NNR, in line with the licence requirements,” Ntuli said.

He said Eskom’s nuclear oversight committee conducted a thorough investigation in order to understand in detail the impact of the three events, even though these were below regulatory levels.

"The committee found that there was no risk to members of the public, staff or the environment. South Africans can rest assured that there are no radioactive waste leaks at Koeberg,” said Ntuli.

In pursuit of transparency and accountability, Koeberg power station hosts quarterly Public Information Safety Forum meetings, where members of the public are given detailed feedback about the station’s safety and performance. -