In South Africa, Minister Gwede Mantashe informed Parliament’s mineral resources and energy oversight committee of developments underway for a roadmap for a 2,500MW new nuclear build programme.
According to EWN, Mantashe stated that government was open to receiving proposals on its plan to procure 2,500 megawatts of nuclear power and that the market would be tested for “robust funding options”.
The Integrated Resource Plan that was released last year (IRP2019) included nuclear as part of the energy mix the country would need, saying it would be procured at a “scale and pace the country could afford”.
This would involve assessing the market’s appetite for the development of small modular nuclear reactors and enable the department to assess the pace and scale at which such a programme should proceed.
During the virtual meeting, the director-general of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Thabo Mokoena, said that work on a roadmap for a new nuclear build programme would start soon.
“The IRP2019 states that preparations must commence for the nuclear build programme, adding 2,500MW, as this is a no-regret option in the long-term.”
Mokoena added: “This will be done with small modular reactors that will take into account the pace and also the scale that the country can afford.”
Mokoena said that work on the plan would start soon: “The market will be tested for robust costing and also funding options (for) nuclear generation. The development of the roadmap for 2,500MW nuclear new build programme will be commencing soon while an oversight monitoring plan for the Koeberg life-extension programme is also being developed.”
The oversight committee questioned whether South Africa can afford a new nuclear build programme.
EWN reported that Mantashe responded: “Many of the renewables are developed by the private sector because there’s an appetite in the market for them, and that principle applies to nuclear as well.
“Because if a company or a consortium wants to develop modular nuclear reactors, it must come and make a presentation. We can partner with that company as the state – we may even give that company a right to develop a modular nuclear station on a build, operate and transfer basis, which means there may be no immediate call for funding from the state, but the build programme can continue.”
Mantashe said the government was going to explore all its options. “When there is appetite for nuclear in the market, we will go ahead with it.”