March 11, 2020 / 4:46 PM / in 19 days

South Africa's Eskom says power cuts to last until Friday

JOHANNESBURG, March 11 (Reuters) - Power cuts of up to 4,000 megawatts will last until Friday after breakdowns at generating units, including at the Koeberg nuclear plant, South African state power utility Eskom said on Wednesday.

The utility, however, warned that cuts may continue into the weekend as the system was constrained, unpredictable and vulnerable.

Eskom has been battling repeated faults at its coal-fired power stations that have prompted severe power cuts and dented economic growth. South Africa’s economy slipped into recession last year, highlighting the impact of power cuts.

Koeberg, outside Cape Town, is South Africa’s only nuclear power station and has two units with a capacity of around 1,900 MW. Eskom’s total nominal capacity is about 44,000 MW.

Eskom disconnected one of the units at Koeberg on Tuesday because of a fault with the plant’s turbine system. The nuclear reactor remained safe, it said.

“The faulty pump at Koeberg has now been repaired and is running again,” Eskom said in a statement.

“Eskom is in the process of obtaining regulatory approval in order to synchronise the generating unit back to service by Sunday.”

Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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