South Africa Hasn’t Determined Nuclear Plan Cost, Motlanthe Says

South Africa hasn’t determined the cost and affordability of its program to build nuclear power plants, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said.

“This is a work in progress,” Motlanthe, who heads a government committee overseeing the nuclear plan, told reporters in Cape Town today. “I’m unable to say by such a date tenders will go out.”

South Africa plans to add 9,600 megawatts of nuclear power capacity by 2029 to reduce its dependence on coal, the source of more than 90 percent of the nations electricity. The National Treasury said in February a 300 billion-rand ($36 billion) nuclear program was in the final stages of consideration.

Areva SA, EDF SA, Toshiba Corp.’s Westinghouse Electric Corp. unit, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corp., Korea Electric Power Corp. and Rosatom Corp. have all expressed interest in building the new power stations.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., South Africa’s state-owned electricity utility, currently operates Africa’s only nuclear power plant at Koeberg, near Cape Town. The plant began operating in 1984 and supplies about 5 percent of the nation’s power.

There will be a role for Eskom in the construction of the nuclear power plants, Motlanthe said.

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