Cape Town – South African nuclear energy bidders Russia and France welcomed Eskom’s release of the request for information (RFI), which officially starts the nuclear procurement programme for 9.6 GW of nuclear energy.
READ: Eskom fires starting gun on nuclear plan
Eskom announced on twitter on Tuesday that the long-awaited RFI was available to bidders.
DOWNLOAD: Eskom's RFI document
These countries, as well as South Korea, China and the US have signed intergovernmental agreements required to take part in the bidding process.
In September 2014, Rosatom signed an agreement with Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to advance the prospect of building up to 9.6 GW of nuclear capacity by 2030.
“This agreement opens up the door for South Africa to access Russian technologies, funding, infrastructure, and provides proper and solid platform for future extensive collaboration," said Joemat-Pettersson at the time.
The agreement is central to a court challenge brought against Joemat-Pettersson by environmentalist groups Safcei and Earthlife SA, which was postponed to February by the Cape Town High Court last week.
It was at the court trial that acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko revealed the RFI would be released that week as the DoE’s gazette handing nuclear procurement power back to Eskom was set to be published.
His plans were almost thwarted by the court last week, who found out about his plans via a Fin24 story, and was then halted by his board, which wanted one final review. That process was concluded on Tuesday and Eskom swiftly released the RFI, which forms the non-financial part of the overall request for proposals (RFP).
With the gun shot being fired for the start of the nuclear procurement programme, the bidding countries were quick to respond.
"Rosatom welcomes the release of the Request for Information (RFI) and remains an interested bidder," the Russian state-owned nuclear firm told Fin24.
The French government said it was not possible to communicate on this document, as they have not yet studied its content.
However, it said the French government has taken all necessary measures to support the French offer.
“EDF, as project director, will work on how to answer to the request of South African organisations designated by the South African government (Eskom and Necsa) to lead this procedure,” they said.
“The preparation of our proposal will be based on the experience of the French industry on many existing export projects (such as in China and the UK).
“Our objective will be to answer the RFP in the most relevant way possible, in a fair and transparent manner.”Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter: