Aveng Set

Aveng set to participate in Franco-Chinese nuclear bid consortium

South African construction group Aveng is mobilising internally for a possible nuclear energy bidding process, indicating on Wednesday that it was likely to participate in a consortium involving French and Chinese partners.

In an interview with Engineering News Online CE Roger Jardine confirmed the partnership formed with Areva, of France, during Eskom’s so-called Nuclear 1 bidding process remained intact. That process was abandoned in favour of a national plan, which was being overseen by the National Nuclear Energy Executive Coordination Committee (NNEECC), chaired by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

“We also believe that China will have a very strong role to play,” Jardine said, reinforcing a statement made by EDF CE Henri Proglio, who indicated in February that the French utility could participate in the South African programme through a Franco-Chinese partnership.

In an interview with Reuters, Proglio indicates that EDF might form a technology partnership with Areva and the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, CGNPC.

“We are talking to parties that we think can put together a very strong competitive bid,” Jardine said, adding that the JSE-listed group was also considering localisation opportunities beyond the civil engineering workflow that could arise for a programme to build 9 600 MW of nuclear capacity by 2029.

The National Treasury’s 2012 Budget Review included the ‘Eskom nuclear fleet build programme’ in a list of 43 projects with a combined investment value of R3.2-trillion. A price tag of R300-billion was attributed the programme, which was described as being in the “final stages of consideration before financial proposals can be determined”.

But Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said the R300-billion figure was merely indicative and would be firmed up through the technical work currently being driven by the NNEECC.

In February, the former South African Nuclear Energy Corporation CEO, Dr Rob Adam, formally joined Aveng to bolster its growing energy capacity.

It also sent 22 engineers abroad for nuclear power plant construction training and currently had a team investigating the possible localisation spinoffs that could arise for a nuclear build programme.

Jardine expected greater clarity during 2012 on the approach that would be taken, including the possible issuance of a request for proposal.

“I think we will still, as a country, have a risk-benefit discussion on safety,” Jardine conceded, adding that that debate was likely to unfold over the next year or two.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter

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