Areva and Westinghouse vie for South Africa

5 February 2008

Areva and Westinghouse Electric have submitted proposals to South African state utility Eskom for new nuclear plants in the country.

Westinghouse is proposing three 1150MWe AP1000s whereas Areva envisages two 1600MWe EPRs.

Eskom’s request for proposals was issued on 15 November 2007 and consists of 3000-35000MWe plant construction plans, followed by a deadline later in 2008 for fleet proposals of up to 20,000MWe by 2025.

The successful bidder for the first part of the request will not necessarily win the subsequent fleet contract.

Eskom has chosen five possible sites (including the existing Koeberg nuclear site), in Northern, Western and Eastern Cape, for the development and is currently working on environmental impact assessments. Draft scoping reports are open for comment and public hearings are scheduled for this month and March.

Westinghouse says it will provide the units for commissioning by 2016 and has submitted AP1000 fleet proposals. The US-based firm is working with US Shaw Group and South African construction firm Murray & Roberts under the banner of N-Powerment.

In a letter to Eskom accompanying the proposals, Rita Bowser, regional vice-president, South Africa, for Westinghouse, said that one of the key elements of Westinghouse’s localisation strategy in 2007 was to launch Westinghouse Electric South Africa. This stemmed from the acquisition of South African company, IST Nuclear, which provides services and systems for the PBMR.

Areva, meanwhile, is proposing the two EPRs followed by perhaps 10 others to form the fleet.

The firm is heading a consortium of South African engineering and construction group Aveng, French construction group Bouygues and utility EdF.

According to Areva, if Eskom opts for the EPRs it will be able to use experience from the plants underway in Finland and France.

For the subsequent proposed fleet, Areva says it plans to invest in national firms.

The group built the two nuclear reactors currently in operation at Koeberg and holds a 51% stake in Lesedi, a black economic empowerment company specialising in services to plants.

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