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Finance and Policy  
9 August 2016

South African elected as vice chair for NEA

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has for the first time elected a South African vice-chair for the High-Level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR).

This was reported by Engineering News, adding that this nomination was made despite South Africa not being a member of the OECD.

NEA elects vice-chair

The newly appointed vice-chair is NTP Group, a subsidiary of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA), managing director, Tina Eboka.

According to Enginnering News: "Eboka is also the first representative of a major isotope producer, from anywhere in the world, to be appointed to the HLG-MR executive.

"South Africa is one of the world’s top three producers of the Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) radioisotope and is responsible for more than 25% of global production. The HLG-MR was actually established by the NEA because of a worldwide shortage of Mo-99 at that time."

NTP board chair Dr Namane Magau said: “This is more than just a great honour for South Africa.

“It signals that isotope producers – who carry the industry – should not take secondary roles in guiding the industry. Eboka’s appointment is a real acknowledgement of [the] NTP Group’s role in global leadership.”

Media expalined that the HLG-MR is made up of 40 governments and international organisations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency.

SA embraces nuclear

Expanding on SA nuclear, CEO of the country's national power utility, Brian Molefe, recently stated that the country requires more coal and nuclear bulk power, with less of an emphasis needed on renewable independent power producers.

"Sometimes it's important to confront the facts rather than be passionate about issues. On any given day I will need about 35,000MW at 6pm for peak demand. When that happens, none of the solar panels installed in South Africa today will be available since the sun will have set," Molefe said.

He added: "I cannot guarantee that there will be enough wind today at 6pm to take us through the peak. That is a fact that confronts me on a daily basis."

Molefe noted that the utility was obliged to procure day-time solar power or wind-generated power that it did not need from independent power producers.

"You can't talk about competition in power production and then force me to buy from IPPs in 20-year agreements. The whole renewable energy industry's competitive edge relies upon them being able to sign 20-year [power purchase agreements] with us. Surely that cannot be free-market economics?"

Adding that further renewable projects would not be the practical way forward, he said that he wants an increase in coal and nuclear base-load power.

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