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First new nuclear plant scheduled for 2023

Feb 12 2015 20:45
Donwald Pressly and Carin Smith

Cape Town - South Africa expects the first of six new mini-nuclear plants to come on stream by the year 2023 "just in time for Eskom to retire part of its aging power plants", said President Jacob Zuma.

Speaking in the State of the Nation address, he said that government was committed to providing 9 600MW of nuclear power through a nuclear build programme in terms of the government integrated energy plan of 2010 to 2030.

To date government has signed inter-governmental agreements and had workshops in which five countries came to present their nuclear proposals, including the US, South Korea, Russia, France and China, according to Zuma.

"All these countries will be engaged in a fair, transparent, and competitive procurement process to select a strategic partner or partners to undertake the nuclear build programme," he said.

READ: Zuma: Eskom government's top priority, to get R23bn

"There will be a fair and transparent procurement process for the nuclear build programme – to connect the first to the grid on 2023, just in time for Eskom to retire its ageing power plants," said Zuma.

Significantly Zuma pointed to far more power coming from hydro-electricity from the Democratic Republic of the Congo than from nuclear.

"The Grand Inga Hydro-electrical Project partnership with the Democratic Republic of Congo will generate over 48 000 megawatts of clean hydro-electricity, South Africa will have access to over 15 000 megawatts."

This is nearly twice the amounted expected to be provided by nuclear power by six mini-nuclear power plants.

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