Nuclear energy in South Africa

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Koeberg Nuclear Power Station

South Africa is the only country in Africa with a commercial nuclear power plant.[1][nb 1]

Two reactors located at the Koeberg nuclear power station accounts for around 4% of South Africa's electricity production.[2] Spent fuel is disposed of at Vaalputs Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility in the Northern Cape.

The SAFARI-1 tank in pool [3]research reactor is located at the Pelindaba nuclear research centre in Gauteng

New build[edit]

Koeberg in red with the other potential nuclear sites in blue

The 2010 Integrated Resource Plan envisages building 9,600 MWe of new nuclear power capacity, by a programme of between six and eight new nuclear reactors, by 2030. The government is considering the practicality and financing of such a programme.[4][5] Seven countries, Canada, South Korea, France, Russia, US, Japan and China are bidding to supply the reactors. As of 2015, Russian and Chinese companies are the front runners to supply new nuclear plants due to their commitments to finance the builds.[6]

In 2008 Max Lee, CEO of Eskom, announced Eskom plans to build 20 GW of nuclear power by 2025; the first station with a capacity of between 3,300 and 4,000 MW could be completed by 2017.[7] However the investment decision to go ahead with this was not made.[2]

Until 2010 South Africa had an expansion policy based upon the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR), but government financing was withdrawn because of missed deadlines and lack of customers.[2] Several groups, including Earthlife Africa and Koeberg Alert, opposed these plans. Adrian Paterson, General Manager, Business Development and Operations of PBMR (Pty) Ltd (2006-2008) left South Africa and took a position as CEO of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in 2009.

In 2016 the Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said that nuclear is nonnegotiable for SA as the country lacked adequate water to support coal-fired power generation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As at 2011.


  1. ^ Hinshaw, Drew. "Africa looks to nuclear power". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Nuclear Power in South Africa". World Nuclear Association. December 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Vlok, JWH. "REACTOR OPERATIONS AT SAFARI-1" (PDF). Manager: Reactor Operations SAFARI-1 Research Reactor NECSA. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  4. ^ Lionel Faull (23 March 2012). "South Africa's nightmare nuclear bill". Mail & Guardian Online. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Nuclear Power in South Africa". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Peroshni Govender (12 February 2016). "Russia, China front runners in South Africa's nuclear project-source". Reuters. Retrieved 13 February 2016. 
  7. ^ "South Africa announces plans to build 20 GW of nuclear capacity by 2025". Power Engineering International. PennWell Corporation. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2012.