Koeberg nuclear power station. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Koeberg nuclear power station. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

SOUTH Africa’s nuclear regulator said it has received two nuclear installation site licence applications from power utility Eskom to build new reactors along the east and west coasts.

The government wants to install an additional 9,600MW of nuclear power by 2030 and plans to issue a request for proposals for the new nuclear fleet by the end of March.

The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) said the sites applied for by Eskom were Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape and Duynefontein in the Western Cape.

"Both applications mentioned the applicant’s intention to construct and operate multiple nuclear installations (power reactors)," the regulator said.

The licensing process included a thorough review and safety assessment, the regulator said, adding that compliance with regulations would also be determined.

The costs involved in building a fleet of six nuclear power stations — R400bn-R1-trillion — has raised concern.

Besides the cost implications, environmentalists and activists are also arguing that SA, blessed with an abundance of sunshine and wind, should ramp up adoption of its green energy projects instead of building nuclear power plants.