SA needs to start nuclear bidding next year

South Africa needs to start the international procurement for its planned nuclear plants early next year so it can build the first 1 600 MW plant by 2023 and avoid blackouts, the energy minister said on Thursday.

South Africa operates the continent’s sole nuclear plant, located near Cape Town, and plans to build a total of 9 600 MW of new nuclear power production between 2023 and 2030 to ease a power shortage in the world’s top producer of platinum and a major supplier of gold.

“To meet the 2023 target, we need to make decisions to be able to start the procurement early next year,” Energy Minister Dipuo Peters told journalists on the sidelines of a nuclear forum in Johannesburg.

“[The] first megawatts must kick in by 2023 so that the lights stay on.”

South Africa committed to nuclear expansion as other countries are rethinking their atomic-power plans, following the nuclear crisis in Japan.

Peters said her department has to revisit its safety protocols after the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

She said South Africa is not targeting any specific bidders but would favour a country or a technology developer that would use local skills and create jobs in construction.

The ruling African National Congress, which devoted billions of dollars in the budget to create jobs, for years has been trying to cut into an unemployment rate that has lingered at about 25%.

South Africa’s cabinet recently approved the country’s 20-year energy master plan, meant to promote investment in the power sector and help build reserve capacity to avoid a repeat of a 2008 power crisis that shut industry down for days and cost the economy billions of dollars in lost output.

South Africa currently relies on coal for nearly all of its electricity, but the new plan calls for 42% of all new plants coming on stream between now and 2030 and to be based on green power, with 23% on nuclear and 15% on coal. — Reuters

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Ramaphosa asks all South Africans to help to avoid 50...

Calling this ‘the gravest crisis in the history of our democracy’, the president said level three lockdown remains, but enforcement will be strengthened

Reinstated Ingonyama Trust managers hit with retrenchment notices

The effect of Covid-19 and the land reform department’s freeze of R23-million because the ITB didn’t comply with budget submissions are cited as some of the reasons for the staff cuts

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday