Eskom to use R150bn in future earnings for nuclear expansion

The energy ministry said government will issue requests for proposals on the nuclear fleet later this month.

Eskom’s Hendrina Power Station in Mpumalanga. Picture: eskom.co.za

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom estimates it would have R150 billion within the next decade to help fund a nuclear expansion programme planned by the government, a senior executive said.

In a column in the BusinessDay newspaper, Eskom's group executive for generation, Matshela Koko, said under the utility's 2016/17 business plan, the firm would raise significant funds to help build the proposed nuclear plants.

"These cash resources could be deployed to fund the new nuclear build programme," Koko said.

South Africa, which has the continent's only nuclear power station, has earmarked nuclear expansion as the centrepiece of a plan to increase power generation to ease the country's reliance on an ageing fleet of coal-fired energy plants.

But the price tag of up to R1 trillion for 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power expected to be operational by 2030 has raised concerns over whether the plan is affordable, triggering criticism from opposition parties and civil society.

The energy ministry has said the government would issue requests for proposals on the new nuclear fleet on 30 September.