South Africa plans to start operation at a new nuclear power plant by 2020, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters announced.

In 2008, South African power utility Eskom, which runs Africa’s only nuclear power station with a 1,800MW capacity, abandoned its proposal to develop a new nuclear plant because of funding problems, according to Reuters.

Subsequently, the South African Government has taken up the initiative to construct the next nuclear power station, and aspires to establish a domestic nuclear industry in collaboration with a technology firm rather than adopt a commercial bidding process used by Eskom, reports Reuters.

South Africa, which witnessed a near failure of its power grid in January 2008, is experiencing a power shortage.

A delay in commissioning Eskom’s Kusile and Medupi coal-fired power stations – designed to generate 4,800MW – has also contributed to the government’s decision to opt for nuclear power.