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Price of building new nuclear reactors in SA close to R600bn

Eskom's chief nuclear operator estimates the cost of building new nuclear reactors is closer to R600 billion based on similar projects elsewhere.

Nuclear power plant. Picture: Freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN - Eskom's chief nuclear operator estimates the cost of building new nuclear reactors is closer to R600 billion based on similar projects elsewhere.

This comes amid reported claims that South Africa's nuclear build project will cost the country around R1 trillion.

The utility has been tasked with implementing and overseeing government's plan to gradually add 9,600 megawatts to the energy grid by 2030.

It's understood the earliest the request for proposals could be rolled out in June, but this is subject to approvals by government departments.

The Nuclear Industry Association's Knox Msebenzi says until tenders have been submitted it is very difficult to determine how much the new nuclear programme will cost.

“It’s like saying the cost of an iPhone which depends on the contract you have. There are a range of possibilities.”

Eskom's chief nuclear operator David Nichols says they have studied similar projects in other parts of the world, like Abu Dhabi, to determine a reasonable cost frame.

"From that deal, if the deal is applicable to us and if we did the deal all at once which we're not planning on doing, it will cost about $40 billion for the complete build of the plant, including the fuel for the first six years."

He says if the project is approved, the first two reactors could be providing energy by 2026.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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