South Africa’s Department of Energy says the process to procure six new nuclear power plants to help overcome chronic electricity shortages had been delayed for more consultations, but had not stalled. Africa’s most industrialised economy was expected to finalise some requirements for its nuclear expansion by April, with Russia and China the frontrunners to build the new power stations.
“There is a consultation process with key stakeholders that the Department of Energy has undertaken before issuing the request for proposals (RFP),” the department said in a statement. “This consultation process has not yet been concluded and the RFP will be issued as soon as this process is concluded. The process is continuing and should not be rushed.”
Pretoria has earmarked billions of rand for increases in power generation, but the price tag of up to one trillion rand ($66 billion) for 9,6 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2030 has raised concerns over whether the plan is affordable. Fears that the nuclear project could be the most expensive procurement in South Africa’s history, and that decisions could be made behind closed doors without the necessary public scrutiny, have been raised by the opposition.