Koeberg sabotage claim under the spotlight

Experts have questioned whether a Koeberg generator was indeed sabotaged, claiming negligence could also have crippled the electricity supply from the nuclear power station, a report said.

The experts pointed out that extremely strict safety measures were enforced at Koeberg - SA's only nuclear power station. "Not just any Tom, Dick or Harry can get into Koeberg."

There were television cameras connected to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Switzerland in almost every room; all work was carefully monitored and stacks of forms had to be completed. The government claimed on Tuesday that it was investigating possible sabotage as the cause of the damage to the Unit One generator from an 8cm long bolt in December.

The generator was a large machine far removed from the nuclear activity and there was strict security in the room where it was housed, said Dr Chris Cooper of the Institute of Energy Studies at the University of Johannesburg.

He believed it would be impossible to throw in a bolt while it was generating electricity, because of the unbearable heat in its immediate vicinity. "If someone were to try something like that, he would probably not survive."

Poor maintenance possible

Maintenance work might not have been done properly, or someone might simply have been careless. "Perhaps someone put back an old, worn-out bolt and it fell out," he suggested. Cooper said the only people who should try to find out what happened, were Eskom officials. "They will have to do a forensic investigation," he said.

Another, unnamed expert said any sabotage could only have happened while the generator was switched off for maintenance work, while a third attributed the problem to "an endless lack of maintenance". - Sapa

Article from: www.sabcnews.com