I ran across a Reuters article that got me thinking. On December 4, 2008, Reuters reported that the World Bank had agreed to loan Eskom up to $5 Billion for a power capacity expansion program deemed crucial to the mining sector. On that same day, Eskom’s board met and determined that it would no longer pursue the large PWR nuclear power station that has been under consideration for many months. The stated reason was that the company could not put together a suitable financial package for such a large project.
Though the World Bank does not have an explicit policy prohibiting it from financing nuclear projects, the bank does not employ any nuclear project experts and has only financed one nuclear power project in its history, and that was in Italy in 1959. That record indicates an unofficial policy against nuclear power development, since the World Bank has a long history of power plant development finance. Providing reliable electricity, after all is a fundamental part of enabling modern development.
I recognize that correlation is not causation, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Eskom determined that it would be easier to obtain World Bank financing if there was not any nuclear power in the portfolio of projects that might be pursued with the loan proceeds.