Eskom said on Friday the Department of Energy has granted it permission to build a new nuclear power plant at Duynefontein in the Western Cape, near the existing Koeberg plant, and it was now waiting for government to make a policy decision on whether to proceed with the country's contested nuclear power expansion programme.
Eskom's chief nuclear officer, Dave Nicholls, welcomed the department's decision and said it marked a milestone in the development of South Africa's nuclear energy capacity.
“We welcome the authorisation by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on the Final Environmental Impact Report (F-EIR) for the Nuclear-1 Power Station and associated infrastructure, and consider this an important milestone in the development process of South Africa’s nuclear programme."
He said Eskom while had believed the department would give the nod to development at an alternative site at Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape, it had also prepared itself to proceed at Duynefontein.
"While we had worked on Thyspunt being the preferred site according to the F-EIR compiled by an independent environmental practitioner GIBB, we have always considered both sites equally capable of hosting a nuclear power plant.