Future Energy Central Africa
South Africa’s sole nuclear plant, Koeberg nuclear power station has over a period of five years contributed R53.3 billion ($4 billion) to the country’s economy.
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and Eskom’s Interim Chief Executive Matshela Koko. Image credit: ESI Africa

This is according to a study conducted by KPMG, which focuses on the socio-economic impact of the Koeberg nuclear power station in the Western Cape and South Africa at large from 2012 to 2025.

Tabling the results of the report at the nuclear power station on Thursday, KPMG’s director and economist, Lullu Krugel, noted that electricity is a key input for the majority products and processes in the economy, which makes Koeberg a direct contributor to economic growth, both in the Western Cape and South Africa.

Krugel said: “For example, over the period 2012/13 to 2015/16, Koeberg supported and stimulated economic activity in South Africa of an estimated R53.3 billion.

“The methodology KPMG employed to conduct this review, is based on internationally accepted standards, detailed information supplied by Eskom and official statistics.”

The power utility’s interim group chief executive Matshela Koko commented: “While we understand the significance of Koeberg within Eskom in terms of the generation of electricity, we needed a substantiated independent view on the added benefit of Koeberg’s investment spending and daily operations.

“We therefore briefed KPMG to conduct a study on the impact of Africa’s only nuclear power station on the socio-economic status of the province and South Africa.”

The the impact of power stations

Commenting on the development, the minister of public enterprises, Lynne Brown, congratulated the Koeberg team: “I encourage gas and renewables sectors to undertake similar informative studies.”

She noted: “Besides keeping the lights burning, it is important that we understand the impact power stations have on our economy and our lives. Not only nuclear power stations; all power stations.”

The minister continued: “They [power stations] generate jobs, and they generate work for the construction industry, for maintenance teams, and for the producers or a multitude of goods and services. They stimulate – and sometimes carry almost single-handedly [the] entire local economies and communities.

“The journey from coal to an energy mix is not just complex but it is also quite emotional for many people. It is people’s livelihoods, what the country can afford and the global commitments to climate change and there are strong opinions for and the against nuclear generation.” Read more…

The minister further applauded Eskom for conducting the study stating that: “This contributes to not only the emotional noise that we get but give a little bit more context to what we have; to give a little more empirical information to what feeds into the energy mix.”

Koeberg nuclear power station – lifespan

Responding to ESI Africa about what will happen when the plant reaches its lifespan; Koko revealed that the initial plant’s lifespan has been extended by a decade, from 50 years to 60 years.

Koeberg is Africa’s only nuclear power station and has an installed capacity of 1,860MW, which provides 50% of the Western Cape’s and approximately 5.6% of South Africa’s energy needs. Read more

It is one of Eskom’s most reliable and cheapest plants to run, the company noted.