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Eskom's new nuclear programme will repeat success of Koeberg‚ says Necsa

21 December 2016 - 10:30 By Tmg Digital
Nuclear energy, such as that generated at Koeberg power station, represents about 4% of South Africa's energy generation.
Nuclear energy, such as that generated at Koeberg power station, represents about 4% of South Africa's energy generation.

The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) on Tuesday “expressed excitement” that Eskom’s request for information (RFI) to the market for the Nuclear New Build Programme had been formally issued.

“This RFI is the first step leading to the appointment of one or more foreign specialist suppliers who will work with the South African team in the construction of the new fleet of nuclear power stations‚” it said in a statement.

The total new nuclear power output will total 9600 MW when complete‚ it noted.

Necsa chairman Dr Kelvin Kemm said: “This is an exciting move that this major initiative is now underway.

“Over 40 years ago‚ in collaboration with foreign partners‚ South African embarked on the construction of Koeberg nuclear power station. That decision turned out to be a great success. This time around we can do even better.”

Eskom‚ in announcing the RFI on Tuesday‚ expressed a similar sentiment‚ saying that it “and Necsa have a proud record in the safe management of nuclear facilities and have through this gained valuable experience to manage a programme of this nature”.

Eskom had made the announcement “following the publication of the section 34(1) determination as amended in the Government Gazette on 14 December 2016‚ in terms of the Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006”.

This section “designates Eskom or its subsidiaries as the procurer of the nuclear generation plant‚ which also involves the front end fuel cycle facilities which will be procured by Necsa in collaboration with Eskom”.

The RFI requests countries which wish to submit bids to supply nuclear power station technology to South Africa to indicate that they are intending to bid‚ by answering a number of questions.

This is to gather information on experience related to recent nuclear project capacities and costs‚ proposed financing solutions and localisation opportunities.

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

“The basic idea of the ‘fleet approach’ for the 9600 MW of power is that as one reactor is being built‚ that the acquired technology skills are then seamlessly moved over to the next reactor. In this way we not only establish new technology foundations‚ but we also keep costs down by using a production line system.”

The RFI process closes on April 28 next year.

 – TMG Digital