Top South African power executive resigns for move to Canada

Eskom has announced that Riedewaan Barkadien will be stepping down from his role as chief nuclear officer after more than 27 years of service at the power utility.

Barkadien has tendered his resignation and will be departing from Eskom on 31 July 2022 to join a Canadian nuclear utility in an executive position, the power utility said in a statement on Monday (11 July).

“As the only nuclear power station in Africa, we have all played a role in keeping the plant safe, and the best place to work. The decision to resign was, therefore, by no means an easy decision,” said Barkadien.

Keith Featherstone, a long-standing nuclear executive, with over 30 years of nuclear experience, as well as a previous Koeberg power station manager, will be acting in the chief nuclear officer role while the recruitment process is underway.

The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) in Atlanta in the United States of America has selected the current acting Koeberg Power Station General Manager (PSGM), Nomawethu Mtwebana, to join as a reverse loanee for the next year. Mtwebana will be leaving shortly after the completion of the current outage of Unit 2 in July.

She will be a peer reviewer, reviewing performance at various plants in the United States during her time at WANO. Mtwebana will then bring this learning experience back to Koeberg.

Mahesh Valaitham, a long-standing senior manager with over 27 years of nuclear power plant experience, will be filling the role of Koeberg PSGM in an acting capacity.

“I wish to assure the people of South Africa and fellow guardians at Eskom that the organisation has access to sufficiently experienced and competent executive team to continue ensuring a safe and smooth operation at Africa’s only nuclear power station,” said Jan Oberholzer, Eskom’s chief operating officer. Eskom’s intent is to fill both the Koeberg Power Station General Manager and the Chief Nuclear Officer positions as soon as possible.

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