In an effort to grow jobs and expand technologies, South Africa is taking on one of the largest nuclear contracts since Fukushima. Firms from France, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, China and Russia have been competing for the two contracts worth $52.3 billion and $130.8 billion.
Bidding will be open in the next few months for the 9,600 megawatts of nuclear power. As a mining and energy intensive country, South Africa is Africa's largest economy with waning electricity margins. For officials, the bids will be just the beginning of more projects to come.
With a high unemployment rate of 25 percent, the country hopes to generate jobs through nuclear investment as well as electricity. Currently, only one 1,800 MW nuclear station is in operation just outside Cape Town.
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South Africa will strive to get the first plant online by 2024, hoping to avoid a repeat of a power crisis that occurred in 2008, shutting down mines and devastating the industry. Fortunately, the country has few earthquakes and the plants are likely to be built inland (avoiding coastal tsunami threats).
Some of the possible bidders include Areva, EDF, Toshiba's Westinghouse Electric Corp, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, South Korea's Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) and Russia's Rosatom.