Nuclear power in South Africa

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The only operating nuclear power station in South Africa is the Koeberg power plant run by the state-owned electricity utility, Eskom. The plant, which is approximately 30 kilometres north of Cape Town, consists of two 900 megawatt pressurized water reactors.

Construction of the power station began in 1976 and the first unit was online in April 1984 and the second until in July 1985.[1]

Proposed Nuclear Power Expansion

In 2004 the South African Cabinet approved a total five-year expansion plan costing R93 billion with Eskom funding R84 billion of that. Subsequently, Eskom increased its projected electricity demand forecast from 2.3% per annum to 4% and is now planning to spend R150 billion in the five-year period to 2011-2012 in order to cater for the government's target gross domestic product growth rate of 6%. "Under the revised plan, we will deliver an additional 22 000 megawatts (MW) by 2017," states Eskom.[2]

Eskom proposes that it would meet the proposed massive expansion by a mix of new coal, gas, nuclear power stations as well as some demand side management and some renewables. "While the major energy source will remain coal, Eskom plans to reduce coal’s current 88% share of the primary energy mix by 10% by 2012, and hopes to reduce coal’s share to 70% by 2025. A much higher proportion of nuclear is envisaged (17% – 28%) by 2025, while additional renewable energy options will be pursued," Eskom stated in a November 2007 document.[2]

In mid-2008 Eskom was soliciting bids for a contract for a new nuclear power stations. Engineering News reported that the U.S-based Westinghouse-led consortium had submitted a bid. Another bidder was the Franch company [[Areva", "which had partnered with construction group Aveng, French contractor Bouygues, and nuclear-energy utility EDF for the South African contract."[3]

Citizens Groups Campaigning on South African Nuclear Issues

Articles and Resources


  1. Eskom, "Koeberg Nuclear Power Station", Eskom website, accessed June 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Build Programme", Eskom website, November 2007.
  3. Christy van der Merwe, "Westinghouse consortium wins US nuclear contract", Engineering News, May 29, 2008.

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