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South Africa to Build New Nuclear Power Stations

South Africa’s Electricity Minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has revealed plans for the country to acquire 2,500 MW of nuclear power.

The procurement aims to tackle the nation’s energy crisis and provide a substantial boost to power generation capacity.

Department of Energy Deputy Director-General for Nuclear Zizamele Mbambo stated that the first of the new units will be operational by 2033..

According to data provided by Eskom, South African electricity public utility, the country is facing a severe electricity crisis in 2023. 

This escalation surpasses last year’s power cut levels and jeopardizes the nation’s power supply stability

The frequent breakdowns of Eskom’s ageing coal-fired plants primarily contribute to the crisis.

One of South Africa’s only nuclear power facilities, the 1,860-megawatt Koeberg plant near Cape Town is being gradually restored by Eskom.

The second unit is currently offline for similar upgrades.

In 2021, Eskom applied to extend Koeberg Unit 1’s operation until July 2044 and Unit 2 until November the following year. 

The National Nuclear Regulator plans to recommend the license in March and anticipates making a final decision in July.

Efforts to Overcome Energy Challenges

The country has faced rolling blackouts after years of mismanagement of the state-owned utility, Eskom. 

As a result, the authorities have eased the registration process and licensing requirements for energy production.

This is done to encourage private sector investment.

In November 2022, the World Bank approved $497 million to decommission one of Eskom’s coal-fired power plants. 

In October, discussions with the World Bank included a potential $1 billion loan to aid South Africa’s energy sector overhaul. 

The country also secured $676 million in grants from wealthy nations the same month for its green energy transition.

South Africa’s enduring electricity challenges have significantly harmed its economy, causing a substantial reduction in its GDP. 

The central bank approximated a daily loss of $51 million due to load shedding. 

In the last month, Multichoice, Africa’s largest pay-TV company, reported a net loss of 1.32 billion rands ($72.4 million) for the six months, partly linked to the ongoing power outages in the nation.