Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Nuclear Country Notes
There is a single nuclear power station at Koeberg, about 40 km north of Cape Town. The plant has two 900 MWe PWR units which were commissioned in 1984-1985. The plant, which is owned and operated by Eskom, the national utility, provided just under 5% of South Africa's electricity in 2005.
Reflecting Eskom's recent involvement with the Global Roundtable on Climate Change and the 3C (Combat Climate Change) initiatives, the company is actively working towards diversifying its energy mix. Whilst coal-based electricity generation will continue to play a major role, the South African Minister for Public Enterprises announced in February 2007 that Eskom intended to build a second nuclear power station - a key component in the drive to reduce emissions.
Development of the pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR) continues. The PBMR concept envisages a number of small reactors operating in tandem. The current schedule is to start construction of a 165 MWe demonstration plant at Koeberg in 2009 and for the first fuel to be loaded four years later. Construction of the first commercial PBMR modules is planned to start three years after the first fuel has been loaded into the demonstration reactor.
In March 2007 it was reported by World Nuclear News that PBMR Pty, the South African company developing the pebble bed concept, had discussed with Sasol the possibility of employing the PBMR in the production of synthetic fuels. Another possible application being considered is as a source of energy for oil sands extraction.