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Koko: Eskom ‘not married’ to nuclear power

Eskom executive Matshela Koko has announced the utility will be issuing a request for proposals from nuclear power companies before the end of the year.

FILE: Eskom's Megawatt Park offices in Sunninghill. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN – Eskom executive Matshela Koko says the power utility ‘is not married to nuclear’ and that the numbers must first make sense.

He announced that Eskom will be issuing a request for proposals from nuclear power companies before the end of the year for the first in a planned fleet of new reactors that will ultimately provide 9.6 gigawatts of power.

Koko says the request for proposals will be for 1.3 gigawatts of nuclear power, but that a further 2,7 gigawatts will be needed by 2027.

The group executive of generation was speaking after a briefing by the department of energy on the draft integrated energy and resource plans (IEP and IRP) for the country, which have been published for public comment.

The draft integrated resource plan suggests nuclear’s only needed in the grid by 2037 – a significant delay. But if South Africa is to cut its carbon emissions that date comes forward to 2025.

Koko says the request for proposals will test the market and provide information for cabinet on the best roll-out options, including funding.

“We’re not married to it. It must make sense to the country, we must be able to afford it, it must be able to decarbonise the country, it must be able to check all the boxes.”

The draft energy plans will now be subjected to intensive public consultation and comments will be taken into account before they go back before cabinet in March 2017.

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