What does Koeberg power station offer
How to get there
Most power stations use the same principles to generate electricity, i.e. by rotating a magnet inside a wire coil. The only difference is the source of energy used to rotate the shaft of the generator. In thermal power stations, it is the steam produced by heat generated either by burning a fossil fuel, through nuclear fission or through concentrating solar energy.
South Africa is a water-scarce country, and its coal reserves are only expected to last until the middle of the century. Furthermore, combustion processes present health and environmental impacts that must be mitigated or eliminated. One alternative is nuclear power.
Koeberg Nuclear Power Station Photo by Bjorn Rudner
Welcome to the wonderful world of nuclear energy
Imagine yourself without electricity for 24 hours, no television, lights, stoves, microwaves, kettle and your cell phone. Ever wondered where your electricity is coming from? One of the answers is a nuclear power station.
Nuclear energy currently provides approximately 11% of the world’s electricity and through Koeberg Nuclear Power Station near Cape Town it powers most of the Western Region and supplies approximately 4.4% of South Africa’s total electricity needs since 1984. Work began shortly after the contract with the French consortium was signed in 1976.
Koeberg is located 30 km north of Cape Town because:
- development of the Western Cape resulted in a fast growing demand for electricity
- the cold water of the Atlantic Ocean is ideal for condensing the steam that drives the turbines
- Eskom’s national grid is easily accessible
Initially in the 1980’s, Koeberg supplied all the electricity needed by the Western Cape. Today Koeberg supplies about 50% of the demand, the remainder coming from the Mpumalanga power stations, which are approximately 1 500 km away, pumped storage and liquid fuelled open cycle gas turbines during peak demand periods.
What does Koeberg Visitors Centre offer?
The Koeberg Visitors Centre boasts a state of the art auditorium and exhibition area, which enthrals and enlightens thousands of visitors every year. Visitors are given the opportunity to discover first-hand how the power station works and the measures taken to protect the environment around the station.
From the deck of the centre, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of Table Mountain, Robben Island, and a fair stretch of pristine West Coast coastline.
Closer to home, the two domes of the power station’s reactor buildings are clearly visible. The adjacent turbine hall houses the largest turbines in the Southern Hemisphere.
The visitors centre comprises of a visual exhibition hall, which hosts a number of interactive models and displays.
Exhibition Hall: Self-guided tour will take you around
1. Story boards –Interesting facts about Eskom Nuclear energy
2. The city model –showing you where electricity is used
3. Farraday model – what is a generator made of? Come and see for yourself
4. A dynamo – come ride the bicycle and see how much power you can generate
5. Conductor model – Which material can conduct electricity?
6. Renewable energy model – Wind, solar, wave, tidal energies exploration
7. The basic principles of generating electricity – steam, a turbine spins and the generator that produces electricity
8. Fission process model – splitting an atom at a speed of 20 000 km/second
9. The Koeberg nuclear power station layout model – by the press of a button you will experience the locations of the on-site buildings
10. Containment building model – can you imagine a 1 m thick concrete wall with reinforced steel? Get into your car and feel this experience
11. Fuel assembly – with fuel pellets which generates thousands amount of energy
12. Geiger counter –radiation is everywhere and can be measured by this incredible equipment
13. Radiation model – come and test the effect of different materials on radiation!
14. Waste drum – yellow in colour and made of stainless steel
15. Spent fuel dry storage cask – one option for the future
16. Van der Graaf generator – this is a must experience
On the drive to the Visitors Centre, from either the West Coast Road (R27) or Melkbosstrand, visitors should be on the lookout to catch a glimpse of wildlife such as the eland, springbok, gemsbok and zebra in the protected environment of the Koeberg Nature Reserve. The reserve also offers visitors the opportunity to explore several hiking trails, and a surprise awaits individuals who explore the furtherst boundaries of the reserve– tall, white cliffs overlook a stretch of unspoilt beach. Southern Wright whales are offen spotted in this area as well, and who can blame them for wanting to absorb as much of the peace as possible?
Visitors are encouraged to hike through the reserve. The Dikkop Trail (9.5 -23.3km), Grysbok Trail (2.5 -5.7 km) and Mountain Bike Trail (19km) will lead the visitor through the two naturally occurring veld types in the area, sandveld and strandveld.
Visitors centre Tel: +27 21 550 4667
Monday to Thursday from 08:00 – 16:00
Friday from 08:00 – 13:00
THE NUCLEAR OPERATING MODEL