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South Africa grants environmental permit for Eskom’s 4GW nuclear project

EBR Staff Writer Published 16 October 2017

South African electricity utility, Eskom has secured approval from the South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to proceed with the construction of new 4GW nuclear power plant at Duynefontein in the Western Cape.

The DEA has authorized the Final Environmental Impact Report (F-EIR) for the Nuclear-1 Power Station and its associated infrastructure at the site, which is next to the existing Koeberg nuclear power station.

Eskom initially considered five alternative site areas for the construction of the proposed nuclear power plant including Brazil and Schulpfontein in the Northern Cape on the west coast between Kleinzee and Hondeklip Bay, Bantamsklip in the Western Cape, Duynefontein in the Western Cape and Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape on the coast between Oyster Bay and St Francis Bay.

The firm, however, excluded Brazil and Schulpfontein site area following the scoping phase. Eskom later selected Thyspunt and Duynefontein as its preferred site.

Eskom chief nuclear officer Dave Nicholls said the approval from DEA marks an important milestone in the development process of the country’s nuclear program.

“While we had worked on Thyspunt being the preferred site according to the F-EIR compiled by an independent environmental practitioner GIBB, we have always considered both sites equally capable of hosting a nuclear power plant.

“To this end, we had progressed the Nuclear Installation Site License (NISL) to the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) for both sites.”

Eskom said that the more than 35 studies were undertaken by experienced specialists as well as a comprehensive Public Participation Process (PPP) was carried out throughout the EIA process.

“The granted authorization is confirmation of the adequacy of the extensive work undertaken,” Nicholls added.