South Africa will soon begin the procurement process for some 2 500MW of nuclear energy, Minister in The Presidency responsible for Electricity announced during a media briefing on Tuesday.
Dr. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa explained that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) had to satisfy a raft of rigorous National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) suspensive conditions, which take into account various factors before the go-ahead could be issued.
“The DMRE submitted a report to the regulator addressing suspensive conditions in July of 2023. NERSA still had an obligation to satisfy itself if the response from the DMRE to the suspensive conditions are sufficient for NERSA to consider giving this process the greenlight.
“I am happy to indicate that… NERSA considered the DMRE submission… and concluded that the suspensive conditions had been satisfactorily addressed. We are triggering now… essentially a procurement process. We are going out to ensure that we are able to get that additional 2 500MW of nuclear capacity to ensure that we are able to meet issues of national security and energy sovereignty,” Ramokgopa told media.
During the briefing, the DMRE said it is looking to release requests for proposals for nuclear by March 2024.
The Minister emphasised that the move is a significant milestone because historically, “the process was mired in controversy”.
“We are happy that we’ve been able to iron out the issues related to how the procurement process needs to unfold. We have met the regulatory requirements as per… the legal requirement and now we have the concurrence of NERSA, we are able to proceed,” he said.
The Ministerial determination and NERSA’s concurrence is expected to be gazetted soon, Ramokgopa pointed out.
South Africa currently has one nuclear power station, Koeberg, located in the Western Cape. The station has two units, which produce 980MW, according to the Minister.