On Tuesday, South Africa’s National Nuclear Regulator announced that an installation site licence could be expected in June 2018 for the construction of a nuclear power plant.
Speaking at an international nuclear conference in Abu Dhabi, CEO of the National Nuclear Regulator, Bismark Tyobeka, said: “We have progressed in earnest the work of licensing the site and we will be issuing hopefully the siting licence by June 2018.”
However, South African finance minister, Malusi Gigaba, recently told City Press in an exclusive interview that the country’s new nuclear build programme is not affordable and not necessary.
Reuters reported in October that the Environmental Affairs Department has granted authorisation to state-owned power utility Eskom to build a new 4,000MW nuclear power plant in the Western Cape province.
According to the media agency: “Construction at Duynefontein, close to South Africa’s only existing nuclear site Koeberg, will only go ahead once the regulator has granted an installation site license.”
Tyobeka highlighted: “In terms of regulatory capacity-building, we have updated our resource plan to cater for more employees to work on the new nuclear build project.”
No money for nuclear
Minister Gigaba explained: “There was a time when it was felt that nuclear is necessary and it must be implemented and programmes were started. But it became clear, as the economy took a serious dip, that we were not going to afford nuclear, that the country couldn’t afford it and the budget couldn’t afford it.”
He added: “It is quite clear that, at present, we can meet our electricity needs and we can even meet them into the future, given the excess electricity that we have.”
“High uptake of electricity from intensive users, when we can see that we are reaching the stage where existing capacity is being fully utilised and the demand and supply margin is very narrow,” is when the need for added nuclear capacity will arise, according to Gigaba.
Read more of Gigaba’s interview here.
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