South Africa will initiate the procurement process for approximately 2,500MW of nuclear energy, as announced by the Minister in The Presidency responsible for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. During a media briefing, Ramokgopa stated that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) had satisfied the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) suspensive conditions, allowing the commencement of the procurement process, as per SANews. NERSA concluded that the suspensive conditions were adequately addressed. The DMRE aims to release requests for proposals for nuclear energy by March 2024, marking a significant milestone in addressing national security and energy sovereignty.
Ramokgopa emphasised the historical controversy surrounding the nuclear procurement process but expressed satisfaction in resolving the associated issues. The move positions South Africa as a leader on the continent regarding nuclear generation capacity. The Ministerial determination and NERSA’s concurrence will be gazetted soon. While the benefits of nuclear energy will be realised in three to four years, Ramokgopa reassured ongoing efforts to address immediate challenges such as load shedding.
South Africa operates one nuclear power station, Koeberg, in the Western Cape, with two units producing 980MW. The ageing power station’s extension of life is underway to secure an additional 20 years of operation. Ramokgopa highlighted the need for other energy sources due to the ageing fleet and referred to the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019, which calls for preparing a nuclear build programme at a manageable pace and scale. Nuclear energy is a crucial component of the IRP 2019’s envisioned future energy mix for the country. South Africa generates about 6% of its electricity from nuclear energy at Koeberg.
Picture: X / PresidencyZA
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