Johan Gerber

With a presence in more than 50 countries on five continents, and a proud history of 95 years in the industry internationally, Dekra is known as a global expert in non-destructive testing (NDT) and inspection.

Dekra Industrial RSA was recently awarded a tender to undertake NDT inspection and testing at South Africa’s only nuclear plant, Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town. The company was sub-contracted by the two main suppliers on the project.

Dekra Industrial’s sound reputation within the industry, as well as its established presence in the Mother City, secured the NDT portion of the contract for the replacement of the steam generator (the Steam Generator Replacement or ‘SGR’ as it is known).

“Safety is the cornerstone upon which our outstanding global and local reputation is built. Thanks to this, we were successful in our tender to supply the SGR project at Koeberg,” says Johan Gerber, Dekra Industrial RSA’s Director.

Johan says that with a national and regional footprint and also its close proximity to the plant, Dekra Industrial is also geographically and logistically well-positioned to conduct nuclear NDT and inspection on the SGR project.

“We have furthermore been assessed in accordance with the stringent RD-0034 nuclear safety compliance standard – as part of the NDE (non-destructive evaluation) scope of work for the SGR project – and we are currently in the process of addressing the requirements and defined gaps to become completely RD-0034 Level 2-compliant.

Although this is still subject to acceptance and verification from external parties, we are from Dekra Industrial management’s standpoint confident that we will meet the requirements as contracted and managed between Dekra Industrial and our clients via the relevant project plans,” Johan adds.

“Once the above process has been completed, Dekra Industrial will be one of the few companies certified to this Level 2 supplier qualification in South Africa,” he states proudly. Given the extremely stringent safety compliance standards in the nuclear sector, for Dekra Industrial to attain this level of expertise will be a noteworthy achievement, he observes.

Part of the project entails Dekra Industrial undertaking radiographic inspection on the reactor coolant system for the SGR project – specifically inspection of the connection weld between the steam generator and existing pipework; while the other part of the contract involved non-destructive examination services on the secondary welding on additional pipework, for the SGR project.

Inspections include visual examination, penetrant testing, magnetic particle testing, ultrasonic testing and phased array ultrasonic testing; as well as industrial radiographic testing on the welds, “which brings a set of challenges with it, as this obviously has a radiation component,” Dekra Industrial Cape Town branch manager and project leader Rudolf Vermeulen explains.

Introducing another source of radiation (even in such a small amount) into a nuclear plant entails even stricter adherence to already stringent safety protocols, and involves substantial amounts of compliance-related administration, Rudolf says, pointing out that both humans and equipment run the risk of potential radiation contamination in this scenario.

“While the Koeberg nuclear plant has many protocols in place to mitigate any form of contamination, there is always the potential human error element to consider. However, we always ensure that the correct level of oversight is undertaken, with the most rigorous procedures in place, to prevent any potential errors on non-compliances from occurring,” he adds.

Johan concludes by saying: “We also have the approval of the Atomic Energy Association and – at short notice if necessary – we have the support of Dekra’s Services division in Europe.”

Dekra Industrial RSA
Johan Gerber
Tel: (087) 095 2700