eskom cancels nuclear plans

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2008-12-05 13:36

Yes it sounds too good to be true, but plans to build the next nuclear reactor have been shelved because of cost. This is not to say Eskom have abandoned the nuclear programme completely or that they don't plan on building the PBMR, but for the time being a new pressurised water reactor intended for Koeberg will not be built. Yay!

Or are they calling Westinghouse and Areva's bluff? Perhaps the nuclear contractors will come back to Eskom with a cheaper offer.

According to the Fin24 article Eskom said that it was "not in a position to invest in nuclear", and has terminated the talks it was holding with global nuclear technology providers Westinghouse and Areva.

The utility said it has decided "not to proceed with the proposed investment in Nuclear-1 project due to the magnitude of the investment" required.

Nuclear technology, which is known to demand high upfront capital expenditure, was expected to contribute up to 20 000MW to the country's power grid by 2025.

According to Portia Molefe, director general at the Dept of Public Enterprises, "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".

Eskom said in November 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.

"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.

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