Areva bids to build nuclear plants in South Africa

France’s Areva has submitted a multibillion-dollar offer to develop and build nuclear power plants in South Africa after power utility Eskom invited international companies to submit bids.

“Areva submitted its bid in the Republic of South Africa following the ‘invitation to negotiate’ issued by Eskom in November 2007,” Areva said on Thursday.

It gave no financial details.

“The South African call relates to two separate proposals. The first, known as Nuclear-1, is for the construction of a nuclear power plant ranging between 3 000 and 3 500 MWe [Megawatt electrical], for which a response is required by 31 January 2008,” Areva said.

“The second, known as Fleet, deals with the preliminary elements relating to the potential construction of a 20 000 MWe fleet by 2025, and for which a response is required later in 2008,” the French state-owned group added.

Areva said it had proposed a global partnership to South Africa and Eskom covering the construction of new-generation reactors (EPR) and the joint development of the African countrys’ nuclear industry.

“The first element of this partnership covers the construction of two EPRs within the scope of the Nuclear-1 programme, and possibly 10 others within the scope of Fleet programme,” Areva said.

To carry out this project, Areva said it would head a consortium that includes French power group EDF, French construction company Bouygues and South African construction firm Aveng.

The new plant planned under the Nuclear-1 programme would be the first of five or six more nuclear plants that Eskom plans to build to help solve an energy crunch.

Eskom has said it hopes construction of the plant will start by 2010 and that it will be up and running by 2016.

Eskom has struggled to keep up with increasing demand, resulting in rolling blackouts in the last couple of years. - Reuters

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