South Africa’s Government is drafting a plan to procure a nuclear power plant with an additional 2.5GW capacity within the next 5 years according to the Department of mineral resources and energy.

South Africa currently has a single nuclear plant. Support for additional facilities largely faded after the ruling party forced Jacob Zuma to step down as president in 2018. More plants were widely considered unaffordable and the coronavirus-induced economic slump has further dented the government’s ability to pay for them.

“The nuclear build plan will go ahead and we will explore all options,” mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe told lawmakers. A contract may be awarded to “develop a modular nuclear station on a build, operate and transfer basis, and that means no there will be no immediate call for funding from the state”.

The department’s strategic outline for the next five years envisions a continued role for nuclear power, including extending the life of the Koeberg plant beyond 2024 and the replacement of the Safari-1 research reactor with a multi-purpose one.

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