Cape Town sirens Koeberg

Photo: Pixabay

Apocalypse not-right-now: Why you may hear loud sirens in Cape Town today

No need to run for the hills on Wednesday in Cape Town. Here’s why you shouldn’t be alarmed by the sounds of… well, an alarm.

Cape Town sirens Koeberg

Photo: Pixabay

For two hours on Wednesday, it may feel like the world is coming to an end in Cape Town. We can assure you, however, that’s genuinely not the case – but there will be some incredibly loud sirens going off.

Why are there sirens sounding in Cape Town?

Eskom have releaed a brief statement on the matter. They have confirmed that they need to test the emergency systems at Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant. The facility, about 30km up the road from Cape Town, has alert systems in place all the way down the coast to the Mother City. In a statement issued by Eskom, they also suggesed that some individual units could also be tested on Thursday and Friday.

Please do not panic as this is only a test. If necessary, individual sirens may be tested on Thursday and Friday for maintenance purposes. Note that the sirens form part of the Koeberg Emergency Plan and they must be in working order.

Eskom statement on the siren test in Cape Town

About Koeberg Nuclear Plant

It’s imperative that this equipment is regularly checked and updated, in the event of an actual nuclear issue. The sirens are intended to warn people to evacuate their property if things go pear-shaped at the plant.

The Western Cape’s most inconic nuclear facility underwent rigorous tests in 2011, following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. It can withstand the impact of large earthquakes and extreme weather in Cape Town, with inspectors describing Koeberg as “seismically robust”.

Koeberg nuclear test: Who will be affected?

The plant has provided power to the electricity grid for 36 years, and it’s expected to stay up and running until at least 2044. Making sure those sirens are in good condition makes its way to the top of the to-do list this week, and the affected areas on Wednesday will include the following locations:

All tests will take place between 10:00 – 12:00 on 4 March across the Cape Town Municipality

  • Atlantis
  • Duynefontein
  • Melkbosstrand
  • Van Riebeeckstrand
  • Philadelphia
  • Bloubergstrand
  • Bloubergrant
  • West Beach
  • Sunningdale
  • Parklands
  • And, finally, all farms near the Koeberg Nuclear Plant