French engineers in SA to ease power crisis

Seven French electricity experts visited South Africa last week to assist Eskom in dealing with the electricity crisis facing South Africa, the French embassy said on Monday.

During his state visit to South Africa on February 28 and 29, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that France would be sending engineers to work closely with their South African counterparts in addressing the country’s electricity challenges.

Three electricity experts from Electricité de France arrived in South Africa last Wednesday to work with Eskom to define the country’s most pressing needs in terms of power-generation capacity maintenance.

The focus of their fact-finding mission is the de-mothballing of coal power plants, as well as the assessment and provision of the technical skills needed. Following the results of their appraisal, more experts from Electricité de France will visit South Africa to assist their South African counterparts, the embassy said in a communiqué.

French company Alstom also sent four engineers to South Africa last week to investigate the maintenance of boilers and turbines at South Africa’s power plants. Alstom has just signed a R13-billion deal with Eskom to provide steam turbines for the construction of new coal power plants.

Twenty-five technicians from nuclear power company Areva are also in the country, working with Eskom to increase the generation capacity of the Koeberg nuclear reactor, the embassy said. — I-Net Bridge

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