Cape Town - The winning bid to replace six steam generators at South Africa's Koeberg nuclear plant, needed to extend its lifespan by at least another decade, is expected early next year, state-owned power utility Eskom said on Wednesday.
The Koeberg refit forms part of a broader nuclear programme in Africa's largest economy to install up to 9 600 megawatts of new nuclear power by 2030, as it seeks to overcome chronic power shortages and slow the amount of greenhouse gases it emits.
The vast majority of South Africa's electricity is generated from coal and the country is in a race against time to ensure supply remains ahead of growing demand.
“Eskom plans to conclude negotiations and award these (generator) contracts early in 2014,” Tony Stott, nuclear spokesman at Eskom told Reuters in an emailed response.
Among those who responded to the commercial tender announced in August last year were Areva, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and WorleyParsons Resources and Energy, said Stott. The estimated project costs range between R1-billion and R10-billion.
“Based on the lead times for the manufacture of six new steam generators, Eskom currently is planning for installation in 2018,” said Stott.
Situated close to Cape Town, the French-built 1 800 MW Koeberg is the only nuclear power station in Africa and its two reactors provide around five percent of South Africa's power.
Stott said the installation of the new generators, to be assembled overseas and shipped to Saldanha Bay on South Africa's west coast, would take place during scheduled maintenance periods to minimise power supply disruptions. - Reuters