17 December 2014
The South African government has been holding vendor workshops with countries it could potentially partner with for its nuclear build programme, the Presidency said in a statement on Wednesday.
This marks “significant progress” for the government in its engagements with various prospective nuclear vendor countries as part of the process towards the implementation of the expansion in the nuclear new build programme, the statement said.
Intergovernmental framework agreements have been signed with Russia, France, China, South Korea and the US, marking the “initiation of the preparatory stage for the procurement process”, the Presidency said.
Delegations from these countries have presented technology they believe would best suit local conditions at these workshops, held during October and November.
The vendor workshops form part of the government’s technical investigation “in preparation for a procurement decision”, the Presidency said.
Future energy mix
Potential vendors have had to show how they would best meet the 9 600MW (9,6 GW) threshold that the South African government has set for the country’s future energy mix.
The countries all have pressurized water reactor nuclear technology, which is similar to that used at the Koeberg nuclear power plant in the Western Cape.
“South Africa has been safely using this technology for the past 30 years,” Mac Maharaj, the President’s spokesperson, said.
Senior technical government officials, representatives from state-owned entities in the energy field, as well as academics involved in nuclear and engineering programmes attended the workshops, leading to “robust and open discussions” with vendors, Maharaj said.
Guidelines for the expansion of nuclear power to ensure energy security based on a sustainable energy mix have been set out in the National Development Plan, the Nuclear Energy Policy, the Nuclear Energy Act and the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) adopted in 2011.
Under the NDP, the government is required to do a thorough technical investigation before making a procurement decision.
The Presidency said its commitment to nuclear energy would be accompanied by the commitment to a “procurement process that is in line with the country’s legislation and policies”.
“The nuclear new build programme will create a massive infrastructure development, thus stimulating the economy and enabling the country to create thousands of high- quality jobs for engineers, scientists, artisans, technicians and various other professions, develop skills and create sustainable industries, and catapult the country into a knowledge economy,” said Maharaj.