December 17, 2014 / 11:04 AM / 4 years ago

S.Africa says to launch nuclear power tender process

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa, which is scrambling to keep the lights on as demand for electricity threatens to outstrip supply, will launch a tender process to build new nuclear power plants, the presidency said on Wednesday.

“Recently, government held consultations with a number of nuclear vendor countries including the United States of America, South Korea, Russia, France, Japan and China,” the presidency said in a statement.

It said “vendor parade workshops”, or presentations of what countries can offer South Africa in terms of nuclear technology, had been concluded and Pretoria would now “design and launch a procurement process.”

South Africa aims to add 9,600 MW to its grid from nuclear power, equal to nearly a quarter of current capacity.

The countries that the government has been in talks with have pressurized water reactor technology, which is similar to that used at South Africa’s lone nuclear power plant, the Koeberg facility near Cape Town.

South Africa has this month suffered its worst power shortages since 2008, due to creaking infrastructure, power plant failures and emergency maintenance, denting investor confidence and hitting the rand currency.

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