South African industry associations have welcomed the Request for Information (RFI) for the 2,500MW nuclear new build programme recently published by the Department of Mineral Resource and Energy (DMRE).
The Southern African Radiation Protection Association (SARPA) is among the organisations that have confirmed their support for the development, which is in line with the Decision 8 of the approved Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019.
In order to achieve a successful process of the RFI, SARPA urges participants in the RFI exercise to supply the DMRE with accurate and truthful information.
This information is important to decision making in as far as the next step to consider for the nuclear build.
“It should be noted that SARPA advocates for nuclear safety. Nuclear safety practices plays major role in planning, building, commissioning, operations and decommissioning of the nuclear facilities. Therefore, it should be noteworthy that safety should not be compromised during this exercise,” the association stated.
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SARPA says it supports the step taken by the DMRE in publishing the RFI in order to test the market. “This is a proactive action by the South African government through the DMRE to ensure security of energy supply to the country post the year 2030, given most of the coal-fired power plants will have reached their end of operational lifespan,” states the association.
SARPA acknowledges the importance of energy mix as stated in the IRP2019, “and in parallel appreciate a well-known fact that nuclear power produces reliable baseload electricity with much less carbon footprint compared to fossil-fuel technologies”
SARPA noted that apart from security of electricity supply, the construction of the additional nuclear power plant will create direct and indirect jobs across all career paths (Finance, HR, Engineering etc), keep South Africa’s nuclear-skilled experts in the country and sustain the opportunities for the local youth and the citizens in general while contributing immensely to the economy of the country.
The association also highlighted that South Africa has a proven track record of peaceful and safe use of nuclear technology.
This is evident by the number of current operational industries and academic institutions such as National Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa), iThemba LABS, Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute (NRWDI), Food Irradiation Facilities and Mining Industry.