South Africa's tender for the estimated $72-billion expansion of its nuclear power plants is expected to be launched in June when state-run utility Eskom requests proposals from companies bidding for the project.
The City Press reported that a document from Eskom said that the utility firm will issue the requests for proposals in June, set a deadline for bids in September, and sign contracts in late-2018 or early-2019.
Not everyone is on board with Eskom’s nuclear ambitions and critics have raised questions about environmental risks and costs.
"The undeniable fact is that South Africa cannot afford, and does not need, the nuclear deal," Natasha Mazzone, the opposition Democratic Alliance's shadow minister of public enterprises, said in a statement. "Indeed, international ratings agencies agree and this deal has been repeatedly cited as a cause for great concern and a key factor in downgrades not only for Eskom, but the country as a whole."
While South Africa could most certainly use the power generated from nuclear energy, it does have different options. The country has a back log of wind and solar projects through its REIPPPP that have yet to kick off, mainly due to Eskom dragging its feet.