South African policymakers had few answers yesterday about the repercussions of Japan’s partial nuclear meltdown for South Africa’s planned nuclear rollout, slated to add 9 600 megawatts of nuclear power to the grid by 2030.
Energy Minister Dipuo Peters was out of the country, but said she might release a statement on her return today after discussions with institutions like the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA (Necsa).
Peters’ chief director for nuclear, Ditebogo Kgomo, said South Africa planned to follow a pressurised water reactor programme, which differed from the boiling water reactors at Japan’s Fukushima facility.
“These are two different technologies, so we don’t think we’ll call for a major review of policy,” Kgomo said. However, this position was subject to change.
Mike Kantey, the chairman of the Coalition Against Nuclear Energy, yesterday acknowledged the Fukushima facility’s reactors were “a mitigating circumstance – they are worse in design than, let’s say, Koeberg… But once you strip out defence in depth, it’s the same physics”.