South Africa’s Eskom projects to use US$11bn to fund nuclear expansion

Nuclear South Africa Pelindaba01Pelindaba Nuclear Research Centre, near Pretoria. (Source: NJR ZA)South Africa’s power utility Eskom estimates it will spend 150bn rand (US$11bn) within the next decade to help fund a nuclear expansion programme planned by the government, a senior executive said

In a column in the BusinessDay newspaper, Eskom’s group executive for generation, Matshela Koko, said under the utility’s 2016-17 business plan, the firm will raise significant funds to help build the proposed nuclear plants.

“These cash resources could be deployed to fund the new nuclear build programme,” said Koko.

South Africa, which has the continent’s only nuclear power station, has earmarked nuclear expansion as the centrepiece of a plan to increase power generation to ease the country’s reliance on an ageing fleet of coal-fired energy plants.

But the price tag of up to 1 trillion rand for 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power expected to be operational by 2030 has raised concerns over whether the plan is affordable, triggering criticism from opposition parties and civil society.

The energy ministry has said the government will issue requests for proposals on the new nuclear fleet on 30 September.

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