SA Govt officially approves nuclear plan

A Government Gazette notice has confirmed Cabinet’s decision to move ahead with the 9 600 MW nuclear procurement programme.

This means the department can now call for quotes for the tendering process to begin.

Russia, China, France and South Korea, Canada and Japan are all vying to win the main nuclear contract, while there are also opportunities for local companies to win contracts for various infrastructure and construction tenders.

Until this point, there has been no official word from government that it had decided to move ahead with the programme.

Business Day reported on December 14 that Cabinet approved the decision to go ahead just hours before Nhlanhla Nene was removed from his position as finance minister on December 9.

Analysts believe Nene was ousted for stalling the nuclear build programme, saying it was too expensive in the current economic climate.

He had allocated R 200m in his mini budget this year for the Departments of Energy and Finance to investigate the costing of the programme. There were no indications of this having produced any results.

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Thyspunt is the preferred site for a nuclear plant

Meanwhile, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report by Eskom that has recommended Thyspunt as the preferred site to build a 4 000 MW nuclear power station is almost complete and will be submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs in February 2016, said Deidre Herbst, Eskom’s environmental manager, on Thursday.

Local residents are concerned that the infrastructure of the Kouga will not be able to handle a mega project worth R 200 million. There has been widespread power outages, sewage spills over December and the road network in the entire Kouga is in  a sad state of repair.

The Gazette notice released by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Peterson, in consultation with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, said her department would be the procurement agency.

This was initially going to be Eskom’s responsibility, but was moved to the department earlier this year.

Fin 24

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