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South Africa to expand local businesses with n-power capacity

Johannesburg, April 27 - South Africa wants to build up local businesses as it expands its nuclear power capacity, the country's Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said.

"It is not just about building (nuclear) power plants, but how we build them," Peters said at a nuclear seminar Thursday. "We are not about to turn South Africans into mixers of concrete."

She made the remarks amid speculations that the South African government would invite foreign bidders to build six additional nuclear reactors with an estimated cost of 300 billion rand (about $38 billion). The projects are designed to generate 9,600 MW of electricity by 2029, reported Xinhua.

Peters did not say what contracts would be offered or how much of the business would be set aside for local companies.

While there are a range of opportunities for foreign companies, there also exists the possibility that South Africa would one day export its own nuclear power know-how, the minister said.

She said that the country is not only building new reactors, but also mining more of its uranium resources and developing a nuclear waste management system.

There is no rush to develop nuclear energy, she said, adding that nuclear safety remains a top priority for the government.

South Africa has the African continent's only nuclear power station -- the Koeberg, which is near Cape Town.

The station was shut down twice in September and October last year for repairs, raising concerns about nuclear security.



-IANS


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