S. Africa to Finalize Nuclear Procurement

S. Africa to Finalize Nuclear ProcurementS. Africa to Finalize Nuclear Procurement

The South African government will finalize the nuclear procurement process by the end of this year in a fresh bid to meet the country's growing energy demand, a senior official said on Tuesday.

For this purpose, the South African government has invited prospective nuclear vendor countries to come and demonstrate how they would participate in South Africa's nuclear build program, said Zimamele Mbambo, deputy director general for nuclear energy at the Department of Energy, reported.

South Africa has signed inter-governmental agreements with prospective vendor countries, including Russia, US, France, China and South Korea.

But Mbambo said the agreements did not mean that concrete deals have been signed.

This only meant that bilateral agreements were reached based on the interest showed by prospective bidders, Mbambo told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy in Cape Town.

"We have concluded the pre-procurement phase by concluding demonstrations by all prospective countries that have expressed interest to participate in our nuclear build program to ensure that the process is transparent, is open and is fair and allows all the governments to submit their proposals," Mbambo said.

South Africa Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced in her budget vote speech last month that South Africa is ready to commence the actual procurement process in the second quarter of 2015.

In his State of the Nation Address in February, President Jacob Zuma said his country will turn to renewable energy, including nuclear energy in the future to address a worsening energy shortage.

The country has been grappling with rolling blackouts since November last year. Load shedding has become more and more common these days as power generating units collapsed one after another.

The South African government is committed to providing 9 600 MW of nuclear power through a nuclear build program in terms of the government integrated energy plan of 2010 to 2030.

The first of six new mini-nuclear plants is expected to come on stream by 2023.