Koeberg equipped to process its nuclear waste
Koeberg nuclear power station is well equipped to handle the energy plant’s nuclear waste, according to a KPMG study.
The recent study by KPMG Services on the socio-economic impact of the Koeberg nuclear power station in the Western Cape and South Africa from 2012 to 2025, says the plant is well equipped to handle the safety regulations it has operated for more than 33 years.
Lullu Krugel, director and chief economist at KPMG, said electricity was a key input for the majority of products and processes in South Africa’s economy, making Koeberg a direct contributor to economic growth, both in the Western Cape and in the rest of the country.
Krugel said Koeberg stimulated economic activity in South Africa estimated at R53.3 billion between 2012 and 2016.
“The methodology which KPMG employed to conduct this review, is based on internationally accepted standards,” Krugel said, “with detailed information supplied by Eskom and official statistics.”
The report said the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) oversaw the safe operation of nuclear installations at Koeberg and Vaalputs, the nuclear disposal site in the Northern Cape.
It said the NNR was committed to protecting people, property and the environment against any nuclear damage by establishing safety standards and regulatory practices and prescribes protective measures, such as frequent public safety forums.
According to the report, low-level nuclear waste is compressed into sealed and marked steel drums at Koeberg, before it is transported to Vaalputs in specially designed trucks for disposal in 10m-deep trenches.
About 500 steel drums arrive each year.
Intermediate-level waste is then solidified by mixing it with a cement mixture which is poured into concrete drums.
The drums are then transported from Koeberg to Vaalputs in specially designed trucks for disposal.
According to the report, the government is considering the addition of nuclear capacity as an option to add up to 9600MW to the national grid by 2030 in tranches that are affordable.
This highlights Koeberg’s role in the South African economy at present and going forward, and provides the knowledge base to expand the country’s nuclear capacity through new plants.