South Africa, Nigeria Revive Proposals For New Nuclear Plants

After plans for new reactors among a number of African governments stalled following the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan, projects in Nigeria and South Africa are again gaining momentum.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan asked the Atomic Energy Commission of the continent’s most populous country to move ahead with plans to build its first nuclear plant. The Christian Science Monitor quoted a member of the commission as saying the government intends to diversify and expand its electrical generation, which is currently dominated by fossil fuels.

Also last week, South Africa’s energy minister approved a proposal for 9,600 megawatts of new nuclear generation. Past proposals, delayed following the accident in Japan, called for six new reactors. Reuters reported that the minister, Dipuo Peters, expected the country’s cabinet to make a decision on nuclear plant planning soon, with bidding on new projects possible as early as next year.

At present, South Africa’s state-run utility Eskom operates the continent’s only power reactors – two 921 megawatt Framatome pressurized water reactors at the Koeberg plant near Cape Town, according to the World Nuclear Association.

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