Busa warns Eskom on nuclear plans

File picture: Dumisani Sibeko/Independent Media

File picture: Dumisani Sibeko/Independent Media

Published Nov 25, 2016


Johannesburg - Business Unity South Africa (Busa) yesterday warned power utility Eskom not to proceed with preparations to procure nuclear while consultations on the draft integrated resource plan (IRP) had not been completed.

Busa said it was concerned that the difficulties that renewable projects faced in gaining access to the grid appeared to be used as an artificial constraint on renewable energy sources.

Read also: Writing's on the wall, says Eskom's Koko

“Furthermore, Busa is concerned that Eskom and the government do not seem to be aligned on the question of the nuclear element of the IRP,” the business group said.

“Busa believes that the role of Eskom, particularly in respect of its position as the sole purchaser of electricity, needs to be clearly defined.”

“Additionally, Eskom’s role as the developer of new generation capacity should not proceed independently of the IRP which is only expected to be finalised in the third quarter of next year,” Busa said.


The business body said any procurement of large-scale generation should commence only after finalisation of the IRP as the national plan.

The warning comes after the Department of Energy published the draft integrated energy plan and the draft IRP for the country on Tuesday.

The documents are out for public comment.

The assumptions and scenarios in the IRP will be the subject of public consultation at Nedlac - the government, labour and business negotiating chamber - and provincial road shows in February next year.

It also comes after Eskom group executive for generation Matshela Koko on Tuesday said the power utility would issue a request for proposals from nuclear power companies before the end of the year.

The utility said its current plans were aligned to a base case scenario that took South Africa’s carbon budget into consideration and annual constraints on bringing renewables into the grid.

That scenario requires the first nuclear unit by 2026, hence the push for preparations for nuclear.

Koko said Eskom was the designated procurer, owner and operator of the new nuclear energy build programme.

Meanwhile, the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa said yesterday that it was alarmed at the prospect of a delay of the nuclear programme to 2037.


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