Eskom’s Koeberg nuclear power station has launched a mobile groundwater desalination plant, aimed at taking care of the power station’s water needs in order to help address water shortages in the Western Cape. The 1 860MW plant mainly uses seawater for the cooling of its reactors, but requires fresh water for day-to-day operations.

Koeberg builds groundwater desalination plant“When the City of Cape Town called on the people of the Western Cape to address the water issue‚ we had to respond with a sustainable solution as a responsible corporate citizen. To this end we have saved approximately 115 000 kilolitres since June 2017‚ compared to previous averages. This equates to the City of Cape Town supplying 10.5 kilolitres of water to approximately 11 000 houses for a month. Our water tanks are kept full to cater for emergencies‚” says Velaphi Ntuli, Koeberg Power Station Manager.

Koeberg only uses about 1 370 kilolitres of potable water per day for its operations, compared to seven million kilolitres of seawater per day. Koeberg saves 22 billion litres of fresh water per annum as its condensers are cooled by means of sea water, which is returned to the sea after use. Despite this, Koeberg can only operate for approximately two weeks without off-site potable water, and the desalination solution was therefore important to ensure continuity of supply of potable water, Ntuli says.

The plant is currently pumping out desalinated groundwater, which could potentially be distributed to the City of Cape Town to further help alleviate the water crisis. Construction of the plant took less than a year, and Koeberg is in negotiations with the municipality ahead of a planned seawater desalination plant.

“The groundwater desalination plant is part of Koeberg’s three-pronged water management strategy to address the current water shortages, while ensuring that the plant is able to provide safe and sustainable electricity. This strategy includes reducing the power station’s water usage, keeping adequate on-site water storage and looking at alternative water supplies,” Ntuli says.

Image credit: http://www.eskom.co.za/Whatweredoing/ElectricityGeneration/KoebergNuclearPowerStation/Pages/Koeberg_Power_Station.aspx


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