South Africa plans to introduce 9,600 megawatts of nuclear energy to the grid in the next decade, according to the ministry on Thursday.
“The funding model of the project will be determined by the response received from the markets once bidders have responded to the request for procurement.
“This will also be done at a pace and scale that the government can afford,” the ministry said, in apparent efforts to appease the programme’s critics who have fought against the US$70 billion nuclear build programme for fear of bankrupting the country with a massive debt.
There have been media reports that the power utility Eskom would in June this year issue a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) from bidders. The ministry, however, said the procurement and implementation timelines for the programme are dependent on the finalisation of all pre-procurement preparatory work.
In February Eskom said it had received a positive response to the Request for Information (RFI) it issued in relation to the proposed South African nuclear new build programme.
The RFI was issued on Eskom’s website on 20 December 2016 and requested firms that felt they could provide relevant information to confirm by 08:30 GMT on 31 January 2017 that they would be submitting a response to Eskom by 08:00 GMT on 28 April 2017.
So far 27 firms have stated their intention to respond to the RFI. These include major nuclear vendors from China (SNPTC), France (EdF), Russia (Rusatom Overseas) and South Korea (KEPCO), the only country on the list which has no nuclear weapons.