Days after President Jacob Zuma confirmed in his State of the Nation address that government would move ahead with the procurement of new nuclear capacity, the Department of Energy (DoE) indicated that it planned to appoint an adviser to assess the economic impact of “localisation for the nuclear expansion programme”.
In addition, State-owned power utility Eskom released a separate expression of interest for a pilot localisation programme for valves used at the existing Koeberg nuclear power station, in the Western Cape.
The current version of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) calls for the introduction of 9 600 MW of new nuclear capacity by 2030 and Zuma indicated that government expected to “conclude the procurement” of that capacity.
However, the IRP was in the process of being updated and a draft updated version, which was open for public comment until February 7, proposed both a scaling back and delay to the introduction of new nuclear capacity. The document also suggested that alternative generation solutions should be pursued if the new nuclear capacity could not be built within a capital-costs price threshold of $6 500/kW installed.
The revamped IRP should be finalised in March and would most probably be adjusted for other policy considerations, including government’s infrastructure localisation ambitions.
Zuma also used his address to stress that, in the “next five years, the State will procure at least 75% of its goods and services from South African producers” and would “work intensively to develop emerging or black industrialists”.
The DoE planned to host a compulsory briefing session with potential service providers on February 20 and had indicated that the successful bidder would be appointed for a period of four months. It also set March 7 as the closing date for submission.
Eskom, on the other hand, wanted local valve manufacturers to outline their current capacity to participate in a pilot localisation initiative for the design, manufacture and supply of nuclear-grade valves for Koeberg. A closing date of March 4 had been set for responses.