Government holds third nuclear vendor parade workshop

MARCH 23, 2015

Government continues to make significant progress in its engagements with various prospective nuclear vendor countries as part of the process towards the implementation of the expansion of the nuclear new build programme as part of a sustainable energy mix, pursued to ensure energy security, says the Department of Energy.

This programme is premised on the Nuclear Energy Policy of 2008; the Nuclear Energy Act 46 of 1999; and the Integrated Resource Plan, (IRP) adopted in 2011.

Similarly, the National Development Plan enjoins us to do thorough investigations on various aspects of the nuclear power generation programme before a procurement decision is taken. Nuclear vendor parade workshops form part of the Government technical investigation in preparation for a procurement decision.

These policy prescripts are meant to add 9600 megawatts of electricity to the national electricity grid and ensure that we keep the lights on in a sustainable manner.

Recently, government has been holding consultations with a number of nuclear vendor countries. Government has engaged with the United States of America, South Korea, Russia, France, Japan and China. These are the countries that have Pressurized Water Reactor nuclear technology, similar to Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant, situated in the Western Cape. South Africa has been safely using this technology for the past 30 years.

As part of the pre-procurement phase and preparation for the roll out of the nuclear new build programme, Government has entered into several negotiations with vendor countries and has signed Inter-Governmental Framework Agreements (IGFA) with the Russian Federation, France Republic and People’s Republic of China.

Inter-Governmental Framework Agreements with Canada and Japan are at an advanced stage of completion and are expected to be concluded soon. South Africa has also signed similar agreements with the USA and South Korea. The IGFA is a requirement for participation of countries in nuclear vendor parades workshops.

Parallel to this work and as part of the preparatory phase, the Department has been conducting nuclear vendor parade workshops with all the vendor countries that are ready and have accepted the invitation to participate. The nuclear vendor parade workshops entail vendor countries presenting their nuclear technology offerings.

The platform is created for vendor countries to showcase and demonstrate their capabilities on how, if chosen, they plan to meet South Africa’s needs. This will assist South Africa in its procurement decision-making process. The first workshop was held during the week of the 20th October 2014 with the Russian Federation.

The second workshop was held with the French Republic, People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea (South Korea), and United States of America during the period of 16-25 November 2014. Government has scheduled the third (final) workshop with Canada and Japan to take place during the last week of March 2015.

Government officials from different departments will once again attend this workshop. This will include state owned enterprises that are engaged in energy matters as well as academia involved in nuclear and engineering programs.

Government remains committed to ensure energy security for the country, through the roll out of the nuclear new build programme as an integral part of the energy mix. Government remains committed to ensuring the provision of reliable and sustainable electricity supply, as part of mitigating the risk of carbon emissions.

The nuclear new build programme will enable the country to create jobs, develop skills, create industries, and catapult the country into a knowledge economy. Government remains committed to a procurement process that is in line with the country’s legislation and policies.