In its bid to boost energy security, South Africa is moving on with plans for a new 2,500-megawatt nuclear power plant. The deputy energy minister Nobhule Pamela said on Tuesday that it wants to end the procurement process by 2024.
In an address to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Pamela said “We plan to issue the Request for Proposition for 2,500MW nuclear program at end of March 2022 and complete the procurement in 2024 to support the economic reconstruction and recovery plan and ensure energy supply”
In June last year, the government requested information to test the market’s appetite for the new facility. However, the procurement process is still in the early stages, and there were no immediate details on the anticipated cost or completion date for this project.
Last month, regulator for Africa’s most industrialised economy backed a long-term government plan to build new nuclear power units, obstructing the country’s transition from coal to less carbon-intensive methods of power generation.
South Africa is the only country on the continent operating nuclear facility, a 1,900 megawatt (MW) facility outside Cape Town, assembled under apartheid.
However, most of its electricity needs come from ionised coal-fired power stations that emit toxic substances into the air, many of which are set to be closed within ten years as South Africa reduces emissions.
South Africa, which experiences regular blackouts due to erratic power supplies, seeks to expand its nuclear capacity at a pace and time it could afford, after abandoning en masse US nuclear expansion plan, designed by former president Jacob Zuma, in 2018.
Industry experts expressed serious concerns about Zuma’s ambitious project for an conglomeration of nuclear plants totalling 9,600 MW, because it would have put a huge strain on South Africa’s public finances.
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