Used fuel storage facilities at South Africa's Koeberg nuclear plant will be full by April next year, power utility Eskom said on 26 November, adding that it has begun creating extra space.
Koeberg, a two unit PWR station, with a capacity of 1860MWe, accounts for some 4% of national power output. Eskom told Reuters in a statement said that the Koeberg "spent fuel pool storage capacity is currently over 90% full.” Koeberg produces about 32 tonnes of used fuel a year. Eskom intends to transfer some of the used fuel to dry storage casks, which have already been procured and “are currently on site”.
Koeberg was originally scheduled to close in 2024 after 40 years of operation, but it is now being upgraded and is expected to operate until 2044. Eskom is awaiting approval for the new dry storage casks from theNational Nuclear Regulator (NNR).
Three years ago, Eskom paid for seven reinforced dry storage casks from US energy company Holtec International to help keep Koeberg operating beyond 2018. There are now nine new unused casks on site, each with an individual capacity of 32 used fuel assemblies, with another five expected to be delivered soon. The 14 casks should ensure there is sufficient capacity in the fuel pool until 2024, ahead of a tender for an extra 30 casks.
Eskom is currently licenced to store four dry casks at Koeberg. NNR said the utility had applied for a licence change request justifying the use of 14 additional dry storage casks. Eskom has indicated that a safety case will be submitted in 2020.
Photo: Koeberg nuclear plant