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Nuclear tender process will be open - ministers

Feb 25 2015 07:53
Donwald Pressly


Cape Town - An economic cluster deputy minister and a cabinet minister gave the assurance on Tuesday that South Africa's proposed mini-nuclear power station programme would go out to open "and competitive" tenders.

Deputy Energy Minister Thembisile Majola told a media briefing of the economic cluster ministers and deputy ministers at parliament that "in terms of request for propoosals... it will be open in terms of those who have come and presented what there offerings are to us".

South Africa has agreed already to build up to six "mini-nuclear" power plants to help supplement Eskom's power supply.

Majola said the open tender issue was not restricted to the nuclear power matter; it also applied to other forms of power extraction such as hydro-electric power at the Grand Inga project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Vendor parades held with potential providers

Referring to expanding South Africa's nuclear power - beyond an ageing nuclear power station at Koeberg in the Western Cape - she said the government has held "a number of vendor parades" with various potential providers including Canada, the United States, South Korea, Japan "and so on".

She left out mentioning Russia, where Rosatom, the state nuclear company, has apparently locked up South Africa in a severely restricted deal which would give Russia the right to veto South Africa from procuring technologies from other countries or suppliers.

Referring to the Inga project, she said three large consortiums are potentially involved in providing hydro-electric power.

She said it is obvious that because of its grand size - "it is double the size of the Three Gorges (facility) of China" on the Yangtze River - not many companies have the capacity to carry out such a project. Nevertheless, there would be a competitive bidding process there.

President Jacob Zuma said in his State of the Nation speech that this project is set to provide South Africa with 15 000 megawatts of electricity - way bigger than Eskom's current operating margin.

When completed, the Grand Inga project on the DRC's Congo River would become the largest hydro-electric power generating facility on earth.

Referring to the nuclear power projects, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies also emphasised that there would be an "open and competitive" tender process.

He emphasised that remarks made by Zuma on the matter of the procurement of nuclear power stations should be seen in context. "On the work that has been done up to now ... is pre-tender. Any (nuclear power) tender would be an open and competitive process."


cape town  |  sa nuclear deal  |  nuclear energy
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