Nuclear organisations support Ramokgopa over new nuclear build programme

Nuclear organisations have welcomed the announcement by Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa to procure 2,500MW of new nuclear build. File Picture

Nuclear organisations have welcomed the announcement by Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa to procure 2,500MW of new nuclear build. File Picture

Published Dec 12, 2023


Nuclear organisations have come out in support of the decision to procure 2,500MW of new nuclear energy to meet the energy demand in the country.

The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (Niasa) and the SA Young Nuclear Professionals Society (SAYNPS) said government needs to be applauded for this decision after Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramaphosa made the announcement on Tuesday.

They said nuclear will stabilise the electricity supply in the long-term. Niasa and SAYNPS also said the use of nuclear will contribute to economic growth.

They said they have always maintained that nuclear was the cheapest form of energy compared to other sources.

They said anti-nuclear groups have been spreading inaccurate information about the use of nuclear.

Niasa deputy president, Gaopalelwe Santswere said they will ensure that South Africa pursues an energy mix, including the use of nuclear.

In the last 10 years the government has insisted on energy mix. They said nuclear was part of the energy mix to solve the energy crisis in the country.

Santswere said nuclear was the cheapest source of energy.

“The reality is that with a balanced and representative mix of South Africa’s energy resource planning, the Nuclear New Build Programme will have the largest multiplier effect when it comes to the contribution to the economy and will be key to addressing our country’s National Development Plan objectives.

“In addition to this, the Nuclear New Build Programme’s pipeline will help develop a much-needed supplier development pipeline and will encourage a wider development of technician and artisanal skills – thus helping address the youth unemployment crisis and help create broader Small-to-Medium Enterprises and services for both the private and public sectors,” said Santswere.

Executive chairperson of the SAYNPS, Emmanuel Montwedi said the announcement by Ramokgopa to procure 2,500MW of nuclear energy was a clear commitment to ensure stable supply of electricity.

“As we aim for the successful implementation of the nuclear build project, we believe that the practical approach for the government is to start immediately with proven technologies, for example Pressurised Water Reactors (PWRs) as indicated in the Nuclear Energy Policy of South Africa.

“We propose that the government start with at least up to 2,000MW of PWR while the remainder (up to 500MW) is left for new technologies such as the Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). As we move into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and green environment, we see SMRs playing a significant role in the future updates of the IRP as the technology continues to grow,” said Montwedi.

Montwedi said nuclear was the best option available at this stage and this would help the country.

Ramokgopa said the National Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) approved the procurement of nuclear power.

Minister of Minerals and Energy Gwede Mantashe already indicated in his budget speech and parliamentary replies that they will issue the Request for Proposals early next year.

Deputy Director-General for Nuclear Energy in the Department of Energy, Zizamele Mbambo said there is no preferred bidder at the moment, and the bidding process will open next year.

However, they issued a request for Information some time ago, which gave them an indication of the cost in the market.

But there was no price at this stage.

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