South Africa Attracts Global Nuclear Investors; Wants to Build Local Capacity

South Africa, which currently hosts Africa’s only nuclear power plant at Koeberg power station, has developed an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that sees it building at least six more reactors at three or four sites by 2030 and spending a minimum of $38 billion on the project.

As these plans move forward, the big players in nuclear energy are beginning to turn their attention to the project. According to Ian Hore-Lacy, spokesman for the London-based World Nuclear AssociationSouth Africa is "one of several significant prospects on the radar."

Last week, the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) hosted a seminar in Johannesburg to showcase Russian nuclear technology. Areva has expressed interest as well, and are expected to submit a bid with China’s Guangdong Nuclear Power Group.

According to a company spokesman, Areva - which built South Africa's Koeberg station - is in "preliminary discussions with a number of players and will propose the best solution for South Africa after it has studied the tender requirements."

Kepco and Westinghouse are also expected to be in the mix, according to the Washington Post.

Department of Energy Minister Dipuo Peters says, however, that South Africa wants to build up local capacity as it undertakes its nuclear power program.

“It is not just about building power plants, but how we build them,” she said at a nuclear seminar organized by a labor group. “We are not about to turn South Africans into mixers of concrete."

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