Deputy director-general Zizamele Mbambo. Nuclear procurement. Photo DoC
DDG for Nuclear Energy Zizamele Mbambo does not foresee delays in the nuclear procurement programme. Pic credit: DoC

In South Africa, the Department of Energy announced it is ready to begin the nuclear procurement programme during the second half of the year, according to Deputy Director-General for Nuclear Energy Zizamele Mbambo, reported IOL.

Mbambo said on Sunday the department had done a lot of work on the nuclear project but declined to give a date for the announcement of the nuclear procurement process.

He explained that Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson had indicated earlier that the nuclear procurement process would be launched during the second half of the year. Thus, he said the department was within the time indicated by the minister.

The department would not miss its own deadline of launching the nuclear procurement process, with the successful bidder to be announced at the end of the year, said Mbambo.

Nuclear procurement mandate

According to iol, Mbambo said his department had done everything in line with its mandate.

Mbambo stated: “Looking at the prospect of the procurement process, we do not foresee any delays. We have to recognise the fact that during the second quarter we will start with the process.

“We are on track to start the procurement process, we are finalising the internal work for the government to launch the procurement process.

He added: “You have to remember that the minister said the launch would start between July and September.”

However, there were indications that Joemat-Pettersson would launch the procurement process this week.

Financing the nuclear programme

The government has not determined the cost of the nuclear project but has insisted it was financeable, reported iol on Sunday.

Mbambo said earlier this year that the government had conducted feasibility studies on financing.

In June last year, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government would invite all stakeholders, including business, to help fund the nuclear programme.

Mbambo had also indicated last month that there was no figure attached to the project yet because that would be determined by the bidders.

He said that if the government gave an indication of its cost structure, it would compromise the process. The government wants all bidding companies to table their offer during the bidding process.

It has been estimated it would cost between ZAR400 billion and ZAR1 trillion ($32 billion to $81 billion) to build six nuclear power plants.

Bidding for the tender

Mbambo said last month that the power plants would have a lifespan of 80 years. The power plants are said to have the capability of creating thousands of jobs.

In Cape Town, the head of Rosatom in southern Africa, Viktor Polikarpov, told journalists that Rosatom would build new industries in South Africa if they won the tender.

Rosatom, which is Russia’s state energy company, is one of the companies bidding for the nuclear procurement tender.

The other bidding firms include China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding, Korea Electric Power and US-based Westinghouse Electric Company.