South Africa aims to issue a request for proposals by the end of March to add 9,600 megawatts of nuclear power to the national grid, according to a report by Reuters.
Thabane Zulu, director general at the department of energy, told reporters discussions were ongoing with the Treasury about the costs of the fleet of nuclear plants, Reuters said.
On 26 December, 2015, Cabinet approved the process for the Department of Energy (DoE) to officially call for the request for proposals.
Analysts have estimated that the costs of the fleet of nuclear plants could top $100 billion.
Proponents of the programme believe this nuclear plan will unlock South Africa’s industrialisation potential and secure its energy security, while critics believe it will bankrupt the state.
President Jacob Zuma said during his State of the Nation Address earlier this year, that the country’s nuclear build programme will roll out at a pace the country can afford.
Zuma said nuclear energy will form part of South Africa’s energy mix.
“Our plan is to introduce 9,600MW of nuclear energy in the next decade in addition to Koeberg nuclear station,” he said.
“We will test the market to ascertain the true cost of building a modern nuclear power plant,” he said. “Let me emphasise, we will only procure nuclear on a scale and pace that our country can afford.”
Eskom said in a presentation to Parliament on Wednesday that it will increase its capital expenditure by 44% to R324 billion ($21 billion) over the next five years to build new power stations.
The power utility added that it had R85 billion of funding, representing nearly all of the capital needed, for 2016 and 2017.
Eskom is building three new power plants to help shore up power reserves in Africa’s most industrialised country, and expects to add 5,620 megawatts (MW) to the network by 2018 when units at Medupi and Kusile’s coal-fired plants come online.
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