South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy took a step toward the development of a new nuclear power program. The department issued a request for 2,500 megawatts of capacity on Sunday, the ministry said in a statement. Submissions are due to close on Sept. 15.
“This will enable the department to gain insight into the cost of the program, possible ownership structures, cost recovery, the end-user cost, and sustainability,” said by the Department.
Last month, South Africa said it plans to develop nuclear capacity in the next five years. The broader effort also includes extending the life of the existing Koeberg nuclear power plant near Cape Town beyond 2024 and replacing the multi-purpose SAFARI-1 research reactor at Pelindaba near Johannesburg. A drive for additional nuclear installations largely faded after Jacob Zuma was forced to step down as president by the ruling party in 2018. Additional plants have been generally considered cheap, and the economic downturn in the nation has further dented the willingness of the government to pay for them.
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe told lawmakers in May that a contract would be awarded to “develop a modular nuclear station on a build, operate and transfer basis, and that means no there will be no immediate call for funding from the state.”