/ 14 January 2008

Eskom asks firms to bid for nuclear power station

Eskom has asked two international nuclear giants to submit bids to build South Africa’s next nuclear power station, the Cape Times reported on its website on Monday.

The new plant, twice as powerful as Koeberg, would be the first of five or six more nuclear plants that Eskom is planning to help solve the country’s energy shortage.

Eskom spokesperson Tony Stott confirmed that late last year the company asked French firm Areva, which built Koeberg, and American company Westinghouse to submit bids.

”We want to receive and evaluate the bids in the first quarter of this year and then report back to our board at the end of March,” he said.

Eskom hopes construction will start by 2010 and the new plant will be working by 2016.

Stott did not want to predict what the plant would cost ”because we have asked the companies to make offers and we don’t want them to tailor their bids to a figure we provide”.

However, Eskom’s finance director, Bongani Nqwababa, was quoted in several recent reports as saying the next plant would cost up to R120-billion and all the planned plants together would cost R720-billion. – Sapa