South African utility Eskom has released a request for information (RFI) for the country's nuclear new build program. It stressed the exercise will not create any financial commitments or obligations to Eskom or the government.
Eskom released the RFI yesterday following a new decision by the Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Petterson, on 14 December that Eskom has been designated to procure the 9600 MWe of new nuclear generating capacity and South Africa's Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) designated to procure a new research reactor and fuel manufacturing plant.
Eskom said the country's nuclear new build program "aims to procure generation capacity to ensure energy security and to facilitate the achievement of the greenhouse gas emission targets for South Africa and long-term alternatives for Eskom's current baseload fleet".
South Africa's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for 2010-2030 calls for construction of 9600 MWe of new nuclear capacity - supplying 23% of the country's electricity - with the first reactor to come online by 2023.
Court rules in Eskom's favour
Eskom today welcomed a decision by South Africa's Constitutional Court to dismiss an application by Westinghouse to review Eskom's 2014 award of a contract for six replacement steam generators for the Koeberg nuclear plant to Areva. Last December, the country's Supreme Court of Appeal upheld an appeal from Westinghouse against the contract, saying Eskom had taken into account considerations that lay outside the criteria for the tender.
Justice Raymond Zondo noted the minority judgment of Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke with acting Justice Bosielo which stated "Westinghouse's claim that certain vital strategic tender requirements were irregularly considered mid-stream is not supported by a careful evaluation of the tender process."
"In my respectful view, the Supreme Court of Appeal erred by finding that the strategic consideration fell outside the bid evaluation criteria," the minority judgment said.
Eskom said, "Today's judgment confirms that Eskom follows a robust governance process in the awarding of the contracts."
"The intention to create a South African full-scope civil nuclear power program, as defined in the Nuclear Energy Policy (NEP) and to meet the needs defined in the IRP 2010 (as updated), requires South Africa to have a long-term partner to support the establishment of a full-scope nuclear fuel cycle, as well as the construction of a Commercial Production Reactor (CPR) [for isotope production] to replace the current Safari-1, the existing CPR," the utility said.
The company noted the RFI is a "stand-alone information-gathering exercise and market-testing exercise only" that covers both Eskom's and Necsa's requirement. It stressed it is not a competitive tender. "The information provided will not be used as a basis for awarding a contract or order, or in any manner preclude a supplier's participation in future competitive tender/enquiry," Eskom said.
The RFI seeks to gather information including experience related to recent nuclear project capacities and costs, proposed financing solutions and localization opportunities, Eskom said. The information gathered, it said, would also be used to supplement Eskom's response to the current draft IRP for 2016. "The information will be used by Eskom and Necsa to finalize its submission to the Departments including Public Enterprises, Energy and National Treasury and Cabinet to satisfy all relevant and applicable legislative and governance requirements for the potential nuclear new build program."
Eskom noted, "New potential nuclear capacity will be procured through fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective tendering procedures."
The closing date for responses to the RFI is 28 April.
The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) welcomed the release of Eskom's RFI.
NIASA managing director Knox Msebenzi said, "An RFI is a very sensible starting point as it is generally used to help identify solutions to a business-related issue that may not be immediately evident or clearly defined. The RFI is used to gather vital information to guide a transparent and fair procurement process, not to make a selection or award a contract to a particular vendor."
Earlier this year Eskom, operator of the country's existing nuclear capacity at Koeberg, submitted site applications for nuclear installations at Thyspunt, in the Eastern Cape, and Duynefontein, in the Western Cape, to the country's National Nuclear Regulator. The applications are now undergoing public comment as part of the regulator's public participation process.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News