Saturday/ South Africa’s nuclear power plans

‘The way the future was’, says The Economist in this picture from a 2012 article.

It was March 2012 when I was approaching the end of working in China, and one year after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster (in Japan, after the earthquake and tsunami), that the influential news magazine The Economist declared nuclear power ‘the dream that failed’.  The writers did admit that nuclear power will stick around for a long time (conventional reactors as opposed to fusion reactors, that is).

South Africa for one, is looking to add eight new eight new reactors at an estimated cost of some $50 billion to the sole nuclear power plant* on African soil.  This would pump an extra 9,600 megawatts (MW) of power into the national grid.  China, France, Russia, South Korea and the United States are bidding to construct the plants, with the winner expected to be announced early next year.  It will be fascinating to see who wins the award.  China and Korea are contending that they can construct standard international nuclear power plant designs (such the AP1000 from Westinghouse-Toshiba) for 50% of the typical capital cost.

*The Koeberg reactor north of Cape Town that contributes 2,000 MW or 4% of the country’s electrical power generation.

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