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AREVA : South Africa Must Consider Nuclear Energy To Meet Demand-Zuma

04/24/2012 | 11:41am US/Eastern

South Africa needs to diversify its energy sources and develop a new mix to its current predominantly coal base, that would include more nuclear energy, the country's president said Tuesday.

The country still struggles to meet energy demand, President Jacob Zuma said at the National Council of Provinces, South Africa's upper house of Parliament.

"To meet these needs and to contribute to the global efforts for renewable and sustainable energy, we need to see broad changes to the way we generate energy by developing a diverse energy mix and encouraging investments in alternative energy sources, including nuclear energy," Zuma said.

South Africa plans to start tenders to build 9,600 megawatts of new nuclear power generation capacity, the department of energy has said.

The majority of South Africa's energy production comes from coal-powered plants run by state-backed Eskom Holdings Ltd. The utility says the country's supply and demand balance will be tight in the next few years while it builds two new coal plants.

France's nuclear engineering company Areva SA (AREVA.FR) is said to be interested in a future South African nuclear energy tender. Russia's Nuclear Energy State Corp., or Rosatom, was in South Africa this month to present to government it's nuclear development capabilities.

-By Devon Maylie, Dow Jones Newswires; +27117837848; devon.maylie@dowjones.com

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