Eskom announced today its decision not to proceed with the proposed investment in Nuclear-1 project due to the magnitude of the investment. The proposed Nuclear 1 project would have resulted in the construction of the country’s second nuclear power station.
Eskom terminated the commercial procurement process to select the preferred bidder for the construction of the Nuclear-1 project. The two bidders were the EPR consortium led by Areva of France and the N-Powerment consortium led by Westinghouse of the USA.
However, South Africa will stay committed to its nuclear power programme in a bid to ease chronic power shortages and diversify the country’s energy sources, a government official said.
“The South African government remains committed to introducing nuclear because we have to deal with our carbon footprint and we have to diversify our energy mix,” Portia Molefe, director general at the Department of Public Enterprises, told reporters.
Eskom said last month that the plan to build a nuclear plant had to be revisited in the light of the economic climate.
It then said the project might have to be postponed as the credit crisis and the downgrading of Eskom’s credit rating had increased the costs of borrowing and would make it difficult for the utility to afford an investment of that magnitude.
Government said it supported the utility’s decision.
“This is just to confirm government’s support for Eskom’s board decision to not proceed with the Nuclear 1 procurement as it is not affordable at this present juncture,” Molefe said.