Eskom on Monday said a project to extend the lifespan of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station was well under way.

The plant, situated along the West Coast north of Cape Town, was originally scheduled to be decommissioned in 2024.

Experts said it was common practice for nuclear power plants around the globe to have their operational periods extended in line with regulations stipulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Koeberg officials said thanks to a superb design, coupled with good materials used during the construction of the nuclear power plant in the mid-1980s, it was currently in very good condition.

Chief nuclear officer Riedewaan Bakardien said only a small number of plant components would need to be changed.

“The biggest of the items that we will need to replace that won’t take another 20 years for the plant are the steam generators. We are currently busy with that project, they are being manufactured and will be replaced in the coming years.”

Bakardien added that local, as well as international nuclear energy experts, were involved in the power station’s upgrade.

“The study includes what’s called a safety aspect for long-term operation. We will have to do a periodic safety review in line with the IAE standards. We are also reviewing the reviews and studies we did to improve the safety of the plant.”

Following the upgrades, the plant will operate until 2045.

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