Johannesburg - Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Thursday she had signed off on a
proposal for new nuclear power plants which will go to the cabinet
Peters also told reporters on the sidelines of an African
energy ministers' conference that she expects the cabinet to
decide on the plan by the end of this year and the bidding
process to start early in 2012.
The minister said she expected the first power from those
plants, which are slated to provide 9,600 megawatts of power
(MW) or about a quarter of the current supply, to start flowing
through the national grid in 2024 or 2025.
Previous plans had called for additional nuclear generation
by 2023 but Peters said that had been put off a year or two
because of revisions in the wake of Japan's power plant disaster
earlier this year.
But she said there was no risk of blackouts to Africa's
largest economy because of an accelerated renewable energy
Over 90% of South Africa's power comes from coal and
supplies are tight as state-run utility Eskom battles
to meet fast-rising demand. The country currently has just one
nuclear power plant near Cape Town.
A power supply crisis in 2008 shut mines for days in the
world's top platinum producer and cost the country billions in lost output.
New coal-fired plants are also being built and power tariffs
are rising steeply to fund such projects, hurting consumers and
squeezing the profits of power-intensive mines and other