The deal likewise stated skills development, localisation of nuclear technology as well as research and development in South Africa, according to World Nuclear News. South Africa currently has two operating nuclear power plants. Located at Koeberg, these were built by Areva, which will also build the same new eight nuclear reactors. The existing facilities have been operating since the mid-1980s.
South Africa’s long-term plans, contained in its 2010 Integrated Electricity Resource Plan, heavily mentioned nuclear energy as its tool of choice as it works to achieve a sustainable energy mix. The country needs up to 9.6 GWe of new nuclear capacity by 2030 as it works towards modernization. South Africa has allocated at least $81 million early this year to be spent on nuclear research and development.
South Africa is heavily dependent on coal for generating electricity, but it cannot keep up with demands. The lack of a stable energy supply has held back the economic growth of the continent’s most industrialised nation. South African President Jacob Zuma, in his June 2014 State of the Nation Address, said his administration will prioritise laying down energy security and thus pursue an energy mix including coal, nuclear, shale gas and renewable energy.