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milo124

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #75 on: Mar 31, 2010, 02:37 »
I found the pics of Koeberg interesting.  Here (in the US) we have deer (and various critters) and they have zebras.  It's too bad something hasn't been worked out on this (as in a company paying a fair rate with real staffing needs).

jowlman

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #76 on: Apr 27, 2010, 07:46 »
I got an email from Bernard this weekend telling me that he was staffing for a fall and spring outage if I was interested. Has anyone else gotten an email? I asked him to contact me back with the pay details.

Offline techtoolong

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #77 on: Apr 27, 2010, 08:27 »
I got one too.  I turned it down last time after I had made the short list.  Bernard's way of saying hired.  I really think I am going this time.  I need some input from my tax guy Travel Tax LLC.  From what I understood they were taking out S.A. federal tax which is very high.  I would also be libel for my home state of Maine.  But no Social Security or Medicare.  It comes out to be more taxes than USA.

tonyg

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #78 on: Apr 29, 2010, 03:30 »
Is this the same Bernard that didn't pay his techs last year or was very late in getting them their pay? Some of the techs told me that they almost lost their apts from lack of timely payments

LaFeet

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #79 on: Apr 30, 2010, 11:35 »
 I had thought about submitting my resume, but I have a pretty good job where I am at now.  South Africa would be nice to work at.... be kinda like being back in the Navy again.

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #80 on: Jun 17, 2010, 10:29 »
Gosh, I wish I knew what was true and what wasn't.  Every time I think of going I hear something negative.  Is this true?  Folks didn't get paid in a timely manner?  That would stink to be over there and not get paid!!!  Any truth to this??  Can we hear from someone who went please?

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #81 on: Feb 05, 2022, 03:46 »
Okay. I am now in training at Koeberg, so...let me give you an update on this thread.



1. I am just doing this job for the entertainment, so may not be YOUR cup-of-tea if you NEED the money. Only pays $36 & $110...with a ton of hoops to jump thru to get your first pay. Have heard from previous techs that you should not expect to see any money for a month.

2. I picked some brains before I signed up. Several techs that are coming back love it here because it is so slow a pace. :-(  The one tech whose opinion I trust said it is even worse than DOE, so I have set my expectations quite low. That being said, the odd-factor since I have been in-country is VERY high, so definitely getting my entertainment. And springbok & zebra at plant to boot!

3. LOTS of hoops to jump through to get work visa.

4. They are NOT good at scheduling. Think I had 5 different report dates? Of course, being Omicron ground zero made things hard for them, so...

5. My return ticket is for May, but...chatting with some of the Framatome guys and they think we could be here until September...

6. Some things are VERY different...system names...SI units...postings... Fortunately, they are giving us a couple weeks of training, so...hope I won't make TOO big of fool of myself!

7. Cost of living about half of States? This is an upscale touristy beach town & can get decent hotels for $25-50 per night. $5-10 for a decent meal.


8. Bernard said 17% tax if we only work first outage. Maybe double that if we work both.



That's all I can think of right now...?


:-)
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline Manymiles

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #82 on: Feb 05, 2022, 10:43 »
I worked at Koeberg for 6 months 5-6 years ago.  Many of the techs that had been there before said that when they filed their taxes the next year, the South African government ministry said there were no, or very little, taxes paid on their wages.Some of the techs were getting demands for wage history documents and/or back taxes, from the South African government.
A couple of months I asked for verification that the taxes were being paid on my wages, and never got anything.                                                                                                 

 I don't know if anyone has ever had any real tax issues from their work there. But, the following year, out of obscurity,  I requested information from the South Africans on the payment of taxes for my wages, they said that there were no records of taxes having been paid for me. You should keep in mind that it is the South African government, and Bernard, that you're dealing with here.                                                                       
I read in this post-string that pay was extremely late, shorted, unexplained...well, sketchy!  Yep, to all that!                                                                                                                                                                     

The above post says the costs are half that of the US, but in reality, the costs are about the same as say...small town Georgia or Alabama. 
Another thing to keep in mind - There's a very real reason that the working class people live in compounds behind 12-15' tall walls, and all have private police guarding them... 'cause when the sun goes down, the roaches come out.  Well, I guess it's not any worse than most big cities in the US now.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Most of the house people that work there are fantastic!                                                                                                                       
The excitement wore off very quick, and I got very tired of being there after a month or two.
Good luck, be safe, and for God sake...don't get any on ya!
« Last Edit: Feb 05, 2022, 10:54 by Manymiles »

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #83 on: Feb 06, 2022, 01:01 »
I worked at Koeberg for 6 months 5-6 years ago.  Many of the techs that had been there before said that when they filed their taxes the next year, the South African government ministry said there were no, or very little, taxes paid on their wages.Some of the techs were getting demands for wage history documents and/or back taxes, from the South African government.
A couple of months I asked for verification that the taxes were being paid on my wages, and never got anything.                                                                                                 

 I don't know if anyone has ever had any real tax issues from their work there. But, the following year, out of obscurity,  I requested information from the South Africans on the payment of taxes for my wages, they said that there were no records of taxes having been paid for me. You should keep in mind that it is the South African government, and Bernard, that you're dealing with here.                                                                       
I read in this post-string that pay was extremely late, shorted, unexplained...well, sketchy!  Yep, to all that!                                                                                                                                                                     

The above post says the costs are half that of the US, but in reality, the costs are about the same as say...small town Georgia or Alabama. 
Another thing to keep in mind - There's a very real reason that the working class people live in compounds behind 12-15' tall walls, and all have private police guarding them... 'cause when the sun goes down, the roaches come out.  Well, I guess it's not any worse than most big cities in the US now.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Most of the house people that work there are fantastic!                                                                                                                       
The excitement wore off very quick, and I got very tired of being there after a month or two.
Good luck, be safe, and for God sake...don't get any on ya!

Yeah, probably same cost of living as the rural South...but Melkbos is an upscale touristy beach town, so...?

Thanks for the info on taxes. You didn't have any trouble with the IRS? I am mostly worried about the forms I have to file because of having a South African bank account? And whether I can deduct my South African taxes on my 1040? Guess maybe I had better get an accountant to look it over before I file next year...

And I hear you about the 'roaches'. I have a tendency to stray from the beaten path when I travel. Have ended up in a couple of areas (Atlantis, Civic Centre) where a local has had to take me under their wing & escort me out with an admonishment of "Don't walk here. The people they will rob you"... I tend to ignore most warnings, but the matter-of-factness about the situation by the local was a bit sobering.

I am trying to do this whole trip without a rental car, so utilizing the bus system. Has definitely added a few moments of 'entertainment' to the experience!   ;-)
« Last Edit: Feb 06, 2022, 03:00 by UncaBuffalo »
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #84 on: Feb 09, 2022, 01:19 »
Got my first diem yesterday. So 9 days from when I started? Seemed about normal length of time?
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #85 on: Feb 13, 2022, 03:13 »
These guys certainly take a laidback attitude towards staffing an outage...two weeks to in-process...and then a 3-day weekend when finally 'qualified'...
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #86 on: Feb 17, 2022, 03:34 »
These guys certainly take a laidback attitude towards staffing an outage...two weeks to in-process...and then a 3-day weekend when finally 'qualified'...

...or, maybe it goes beyond 'laidback'...has stretched to a full week...apparently there is some confusion in the plant as to why people would fly 10,000 miles to work. It is TO WORK, not to sit in hotel room waiting on some "committee" to approve our credentials. (The credential approval happens during the resume approval stage, if the plant happens to be reading this.)

GRRRR....  :-(
« Last Edit: Feb 17, 2022, 03:35 by UncaBuffalo »
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #87 on: Feb 19, 2022, 05:12 »
Ok...we got an explanation on 'credential review'...just their term for a final check that your plant RP training is complete & you are qualified to do a survey at Koeberg. Includes a short oral board in front of management & training.

That doesn't necessarily explain why we had a week off. But they finally called us back to work yesterday. So things moving in a positive direction.  🙂
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline hamsamich

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #88 on: Feb 19, 2022, 02:04 »
Same thing happened to me at TVA....but it was a long weekend during the beginning of the outage....all the badge people were off for 4 days so they told us to sit and wait 5+ days until our badge was ready.  Of course BHI and TVA had no idea why so many of us were mad....Some people just went home home.   Gee I wonder why people were upset when you don't get to work 6 days out of an 18 day outage?   hmmmmmm.  That was a bit of a "coming to jesus" moment for me.

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #89 on: Feb 26, 2022, 12:35 »
Same thing happened to me at TVA....but it was a long weekend during the beginning of the outage....all the badge people were off for 4 days so they told us to sit and wait 5+ days until our badge was ready.  Of course BHI and TVA had no idea why so many of us were mad....Some people just went home home.   Gee I wonder why people were upset when you don't get to work 6 days out of an 18 day outage?   hmmmmmm.  That was a bit of a "coming to jesus" moment for me.

Maybe security is off in their own little reality? I had that one on a badge at Point Beach last fall...
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #90 on: Feb 26, 2022, 12:41 »
Things not looking good for this being my job for much longer.

First paycheck was 34 hours short, but...lots of confusion & I was assured that it would be straightened out "soon". Then yesterday's paycheck was 40 hours short, so...probably booking my flight home. I have been assured they are still working on it, but...
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #91 on: Mar 04, 2022, 03:42 »
Things not looking good for this being my job for much longer.

First paycheck was 34 hours short, but...lots of confusion & I was assured that it would be straightened out "soon". Then yesterday's paycheck was 40 hours short, so...probably booking my flight home. I have been assured they are still working on it, but...

They talked me into working another week. Koeberg is very much a bureaucracy and decisions happen s...l...o...w...l...y.

Finally got tired of waiting, so told them I would come back to work when/if they get it sorted out. Guess we'll see whether they can do that before I see everything I want to in South Africa & head back to the States?
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #92 on: Mar 09, 2022, 02:05 »
Okay. Looks like they got it all sorted out. :)    Check's in the mail! ;)      So back to work in the morning...

In the meantime, they realized they aren't ready to do a SGRP...postponed that until next outage.    Still doing the head replacement this outage, so here until...June?
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline fiveeleven

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #93 on: Mar 09, 2022, 07:40 »
"before I see everything I want to in South Africa & head back to the States" ?


Take a nice relaxing trip up to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) to check out the birthplace of the Rhodesian Light Infantry aka The Saints. One of the greatest military units in history.
« Last Edit: Mar 09, 2022, 07:44 by fiveeleven »

Offline Rennhack

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #94 on: Mar 10, 2022, 08:16 »
Okay. Looks like they got it all sorted out. :)    Check's in the mail! ;)      So back to work in the morning...

In the meantime, they realized they aren't ready to do a SGRP...postponed that until next outage.    Still doing the head replacement this outage, so here until...June?

No check, no tech... no diem, no see 'em...

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #95 on: Mar 18, 2022, 09:52 »
                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Most of the house people that work there are fantastic!                                                                                                                       




Amen to that!  :)


AND, same goes for the long-term returnee contractors. A couple of them that I worked with at Point Beach told me Koeberg could be a good gig. And it is (now that I am actually in the plant working) but mostly because they are here to keep me out of trouble! ;) Thanks!


« Last Edit: Mar 18, 2022, 09:54 by UncaBuffalo »
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #96 on: Mar 25, 2022, 03:36 »
A couple of odd quirks at Koeberg:

1. Their house people stick to their normal rotation during outage. So never have time to get their sleep patterns adjusted. Not sure how that is even humanly possible working 72's? And we are only halfway through outage, so sure it will get worse for them.

2. Only plant I have ever seen where the rent-a-techs rotate through ALL of the job areas during outage...containment for a week...then maybe aux building...then decon facility for a week. So it takes several outages to ever get familiar with the plant & become proficient at your job. I guess it has worked in Koeberg's favor with the multiple-year returnees, but...rough for a newbie - esp. an old dog who has only done the Rx Bulding trick since early 90s.      AND, has the added downside that there is zero payback for taking ownership of your area or workers.



Also, the language barrier is substantial. English is the nominal Official Language of the outage. But, even when both parties are fluent, the accents can make understanding difficult. And MANY of the workers are NOT fluent in English. I have been working with really good techs from Brazil trying to cover very experienced workers from France...but I am often only person in area even vaguely proficient in English (and there has been debate about my proficiency! ;) )            We have been able to muddle through based on sheer luck & perseverance, but...
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #97 on: Apr 01, 2022, 02:35 »

2. Only plant I have ever seen where the rent-a-techs rotate through ALL of the job areas during outage...containment for a week...then maybe aux building...then decon facility for a week. So it takes several outages to ever get familiar with the plant & become proficient at your job. I guess it has worked in Koeberg's favor with the multiple-year returnees, but...rough for a newbie - esp. an old dog who has only done the Rx Bulding trick since early 90s.      AND, has the added downside that there is zero payback for taking ownership of your area or workers.



Also, the language barrier is substantial. English is the nominal Official Language of the outage. But, even when both parties are fluent, the accents can make understanding difficult. And MANY of the workers are NOT fluent in English. I have been working with really good techs from Brazil trying to cover very experienced workers from France...but I am often only person in area even vaguely proficient in English (and there has been debate about my proficiency! ;) )            We have been able to muddle through based on sheer luck & perseverance, but...

Found a hack to avoid having to learn all the jobs...'volunteered' for Valve Crew. Now I can do 95% of my work in Containment, where I am reasonably familiar with the set-up. They use different names for their systems (RCV = CVCS, RIS = SI, EAS = Ctmt Spray, etc.)...but similar layout to a Westinghouse or CE PWR so pretty easy to get up to speed. And, when I have to find a valve in Fuel or Aux Building, I can just follow the crew.

And, since I am always covering valves, I start seeing the same crews over & over....can establish some level of understanding of what they need from me & they get familiar with what I will expect of them...even if we still have the language barrier.

Plus, (some people would NOT find this an advantage) the plant realized I prefer being in the field, so have reduced the RP Valve Crew from 3 techs down to...just me some days. Lots of entertainment & makes the 12 hours fly by! :)
« Last Edit: Apr 06, 2022, 07:13 by UncaBuffalo »
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #98 on: Apr 07, 2022, 04:36 »
Okay. Looks like they got it all sorted out. :)    Check's in the mail! ;)      So back to work in the morning...

In the meantime, they realized they aren't ready to do a SGRP...postponed that until next outage.    Still doing the head replacement this outage, so here until...June?

Koeberg'd again! :( :( :(

Check arrived, but was for a third of the amount I had agreed to return for.....GRRRRR.... Apparently the utility & Deros had different views on what had been negotiated. I am giving them a couple of days to see if they can get it 'sorted', but...not holding my breath.

 :( :( :(
« Last Edit: Apr 07, 2022, 04:41 by UncaBuffalo »
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station - South Africa
« Reply #99 on: Apr 15, 2022, 11:43 »
Koeberg'd again! :( :( :(

Check arrived, but was for a third of the amount I had agreed to return for.....GRRRRR.... Apparently the utility & Deros had different views on what had been negotiated. I am giving them a couple of days to see if they can get it 'sorted', but...not holding my breath.

 :( :( :(


Ended up having to take another day off to get their attention. As soon as I did, they agreed to pay me. Not sure why it seems impossible to achieve anything through a normal discussion...
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.      - B. Baggins

 


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