PRETORIA, February 2. The number of companies willing to participate in the nuclear build program in South Africa has reached 27, South African energy major Eskom, an operator of the nuclear power plant construction project, said in a press release.
"Some 27 companies have stated that they intend to provide a response to the RFI (Request for Information), including major nuclear vendors from China (SNPTC), France (EdF), Russia (Rusatom Overseas) and South Korea (KEPCO)," the report said. "Eskom is pleased to report that the response to the Request for Information it issued in relation to the proposed South African Nuclear New Build Programme has been very positive," the company said.
Rusatom Overseas is a subsidiary of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom.
The companies interested in the project were expected to confirm their participation plans before 31 January 2017 and submit responses to Eskom before 28 April 2017. "Eskom is looking forward to the information supplied to confirm our understanding of the key issues that impact the timing and affordability of a nuclear program," Eskom’s Interim Group Chief Executive Matshela Koko was quoted as saying.
"While the intention to submit a response to Eskom’s RFI does not commit a company to submit a response to a potential future Request for Proposal, the quantum of the response to Eskom’s RFI shows the level of competitive interest in the South African Nuclear New Build Program," the report said.
A source in Russian company's representative office in South Africa told TASS that it "is interested in participating" in the project and will submit all required documents.
As was reported earlier head of Rosatom Alexei Likhachev said last month that Russia is involved in pre-bid procedures for the construction of a nuclear power plant in South Africa.
South Africa, home to the continent’s only nuclear power plant, was expected to announce an NPP construction tender in 2008 in a bid to reduce its reliance on ageing coal power stations. The announcement was postponed until 2014 and later delayed again until the first quarter of 2016. In late December 2016, Eskom published a no-obligation RFI as part of its planned tender to build nuclear power plants with a capacity of 9,600 megawatts (MW).