“The development of the roadmap for the 2,500 MW nuclear new build programme will be commencing soon,” the energy ministry said in a presentation to a parliamentary committee on its plans for 2020-25.
The presentation showed South Africa wanted to complete the procurement of the new nuclear plant by 2024 but gave no indication as to when it wanted construction of the plant to start or for when the plant would come online.
Answering questions, energy minister Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday that the government would first “test the market” and hear what potential investors or consortia had to say about building new nuclear plants.
“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,” Mr Mantashe said.
South Africa, which has the continent’s only commercial nuclear station at Koeberg, said last year that it was considering adding more nuclear capacity, after abandoning a nuclear expansion championed by former president Jacob Zuma.
A 2010 energy plan incorporated 9,600 MW of nuclear energy into South Africa’s future energy mix, but nuclear was dropped entirely from a revised draft plan released for public comment in August 2018.
In October 2019 South Africa published a final energy plan that called for the construction of two 500-MW units.