23 October 2008 – Eskom initially said that it will announce the name of the preferred bidder of up to 12 proposed nuclear reactors in April 2008. The decision was then postponed until September 2008 and to date, there has been no announcement made as to the future of the project.
According to a news report on World Nuclear News, unnamed sources are suggesting that an announcement may only be made after the South African general elections in 2009 and that the country may not have funds to continue with the plans for nuclear new build.
These delays and the current political instability plaguing the country, could damage South Africa’s status as a regional leader in nuclear energy.
“For example, despite Areva’s investment in a joint training facility near South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear power plant and interest in Eskom’s tender, the company also enjoys a good relationship with neighbouring Namibia, centred around the Trekkopje uranium mine. Furthermore, the Namibian government is known to be positive towards further development in terms of uranium enrichment or actual generation of nuclear power” the report concluded.