National 21.12.2016 06:46 am

South Africa takes first step in nuclear power stations plan

FILE PICTURE: Power station. Picture: AFP

FILE PICTURE: Power station. Picture: AFP

Necsa chairperson expressed excitement that the major initiative was now underway.

The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) on Tuesday night expressed excitement that the Request For Information (RFI) on the new nuclear build programme has now been formally issued.

The RFI is the first step leading to the appointment of one or more foreign specialist suppliers who will work with the South Africa team in the construction of the new fleet of nuclear power stations. The total new nuclear power output will be 9600 MW when these stations are completed.

Necsa chairperson Dr Kelvin Kemm said: “This is an exciting move that this major initiative is now under way.”

Phumzile Tshelane, CEO of Necsa, added: “Necsa has been operating a nuclear reactor for over half a century, we know what we are doing and are pleased to be working with Eskom on this challenging road which can deliver so much.”

Earlier Eskom announced it had released a no-obligation RFI to the market for the nuclear new build programme following the publication of the section 34(1) determination as amended in the Government Gazette on December 14 in terms of the Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006.

In addition, Eskom has briefed the minister of public enterprises on the matter. The amended section 34(1) determination designates Eskom or its subsidiaries as the procurer of nuclear generation plants, which also involves the front-end fuel-cycle facilities, that will be procured by Necsa in collaboration with Eskom.

The RFI is a stand-alone information-gathering exercise on experience related to recent nuclear project capacities and costs, proposed financing solutions and localisation opportunities and will not create any financial commitments or obligations on Eskom or the SA government.

The information will be used by Eskom and Necsa to finalise its submission to government departments, including Public Enterprises, Energy and National Treasury and Cabinet, to satisfy legislative and governance requirements for the nuclear new build programme. Only after approvals have been obtained can financial commitments be created.

The RFI will be followed by two rounds of Requests For Proposals during which time the proposals for the exact layout and format of the new nuclear power plants will be refined. Time-frames for construction and the method of construction will also be agreed between the parties.

The closing date for responses to the RFI is April 28, 2017.

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