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Vacuum solutions

Successful pressure testing of the Koeberg Power Station Nuclear Dome in South Africa

Antwerp, Belgium – June 10, 2015: Recognized as Eskom’s most consistent and reliable power station, Koeberg is the only nuclear power station in Africa. Koeberg has a pressurized water reactor design.

June 12, 2015

Featuring the largest turbine generators in the Southern Hemisphere, Koeberg is also the most southerly-situated nuclear power station in the world.

With International Law stipulating that all containment buildings of all nuclear plants have to be pressure tested every ten years, Eskom (who generates, transmits and distributes approximately 95% of the electricity used in South Africa and 45% of the electricity used in Africa to industrial, mining, commercial, agricultural and residential customers and redistributors.) contracted Rand-Air to facilitate the assignment.

Having previously supplied oil-free compressors for the containment integrated leak rate test in 2005, the decision to commission us was as a result of previous successful project partnerships with Eskom. “The purpose of the pressure testing of the containment building at Koeberg was to ensure that there was no leakage which could be harmful to the surrounding environment and public,” says Andre Hopley, Projects Lead Technician at Rand-Air.

“Using ten PTS 916 oil-free mobile compressors running through desiccant dryers, dry oil-free air was pumped into the containment building. Both the inner and the outer sector of the building were surveyed before, during and after the test. Water particles have a big influence on pressure testing and the end result. We were required to match 18 °C in temperature of the air going into containment. We found that using heat exchangers and chillers reduce the pressure testing time by a few hours allowing us to control the air pressure distribution. The requirement for the pressure testing was -20 °C dew point and we managed to achieve -40°C,” Hopley explains.

Hopley adds “The pressure test took less than eight hours. It took two and a half hours to reach a pressure of one bar. The procedure stops for eight hours when it reaches one bar, this is key in ensuring that everything is stable enough to continue to four bar. The process requires the go ahead from two parties namely Électricité de France (EDF) and Eskom. It is critical to monitor the progression thoroughly, damage to the equipment inside the building could be detrimental.”

With an extensive fleet of over 700 Atlas Copco compressors and generators for hire in Southern Africa, we are a market leader in the industry.

“ We are proud to report that the Rand-Air contribution to the pressure test at Koeberg was a great success. ”

Andre Hopley , Projects Lead Technician at Rand-Air

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Atlas Copco is a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions. The Group serves customers with innovative compressors, vacuum solutions and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. Atlas Copco develops products and service focused on productivity, energy efficiency, safety and ergonomics. The company was founded in 1873, is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 180 countries. In 2015, Atlas Copco had revenues of BSEK 102 (BEUR 11) and more than 43 000 employees.


Specialty Rental is a division within Atlas Copco’s Construction Technique business area. It serves customers in the industry segments around the world with temporary air, nitrogen, steam and power rental solutions. The specialty rental services are offered under several brands. The divisional headquarters is located in Houston, USA.