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South Africa will invite bids to procure 2.5 GW of new nuclear capacity

South Africa’s Ministry of Electricity has announced that it will start a procurement process to develop an additional 2.5 GW of nuclear capacity in the country. The government will publish a request for proposals (RFP) for the nuclear capacity by March 2024, following the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (Nersa) concurrence with a procurement determination published in 2020. 

This announcement comes as South Africa is facing severe power outages and loadshedding. However, the commissioning of the first unit of the new nuclear project is not expected before 2032 or 2033. 

South Africa is home to the only currently active nuclear plant on the African continent, the 1.9 GW Koeberg nuclear power plant, which produces about 5% of the country’s electricity (4.3% in 2022). The government is awaiting regulatory approval after applying for a 20-year life extension to Koeberg's operating licence, which expires in July 2024. In 2017, a 9.6 GW nuclear deal with Russia was cancelled due to a court challenge and the ambitious Nuclear New Build Programme was abandoned in 2018.