Second conventional nuclear power station, South Africa
By: Sheila Barradas
Published: 26 Oct 07 - 0:00
Name and location
Second conventional nuclear power station, South Africa.
The Eskom board has approved the investigation of up to 20 000 MW of nuclear capacity over the next 20 years, as part of its plans to roll out 40 000 MW of capacity over the same period. The initial phase of the investigation will concentrate on one nuclear power station of about 4 000 MW, with provision being made for future expansion.
The proposed nuclear power station will be of the pressurised water reactor type. The nuclear power plant will in many ways resemble the structure of a conventional thermal power plant; the difference will be in the manner in which heat is produced. In a fossil plant, oil, gas or coal is fired in the boiler, which means that the chemical energy of the fuel is converted into heat. In a nuclear power plant, however, energy from the fission chain reaction is used. Cooling water for the nuclear power station will be used directly from the sea. Although detailed design still needs to be completed, it is estimated that the entire development will require some 31 ha, including all auxiliary infrastructure. The proposed nuclear power station will include a nuclear reactor, a turbine complex, spent fuel, nuclear fuel storage facilities, waste handling facilities, an intake and outfall basin, and various auxiliary services infrastructure.
Reportedly, the project is not part of Eskom's current five-year, R150-billion expansion plan, but will be part of the second phase, expected to start in 2012. A figure for the project has not been confirmed but the upfront capital cost will possibly be as high as R100-billion.
Should the proposed project be authorised, it is estimated that the construction of the nuclear power station could start in 2009/10, with the first unit being commissioned in 2016.
Breakdown of main contracts
Eskom has identified the world's biggest nuclear power firm, Areva, and US-based Westinghouse, as the vendors to build South Africa's first new nuclear power station in more than 20 years, and construction could start as early as in 2010.The plant will be built at one of five possible sites along South Africa's coastline.
Eskom hopes to have a letter of intent signed with the preferred bidder sometime in 2008.
It will then submit an environmental-impact assessment for the plant's construction in 2009, and hopes for a decision from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in the same year. Construction for the first unit will then take "at least six years" to complete.
On budget and on time?
Too early to state.
Contact details for project information
Eskom, tel +27 11 800 8111.
For information relating to the public-participation process contact Acer (Africa) Environmental Management Consultants, Bongi Shinga or June Mottram,
tel 086 010 4958, fax 035 340 2232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.