In South Africa, global nuclear player Rosatom stressed the country’s need for nuclear power adding that it will significantly boost the country’s economic growth and development.
According to counsellor to the President of Rosatom Overseas, Victor Kolesnikov, South Africa is currently facing a number of socio-economic challenges.
Rosatom: Developing the economy
Speaking at a conference in Cape Town last week, Kolesnikov said that South Africa’s nuclear new build programme would help boost development in all economic areas from job creation through to industrialisation and skills development.
Kolesnikov noted that without a sustainable and reliable base load power such as nuclear, it will be very difficult to bridge the current socio-economic gap in South Africa.
According to the nuclear firm’s initial estimate, the nuclear build in South Africa would create around 15,000 direct jobs and over 150,000 indirect jobs in the construction phase alone.
The Russian nuclear company highlighted that nuclear energy requires the highest number of skilled workers per 1,000MW of installed capacity than any other power source.
Rosatom said in a company statement: “According to a paper published by the Nuclear Energy Institute, nuclear requires 500 skilled workers per 1,000MW, whereas coal requires 220, wind 90 and natural gas only 60 per 1,000MW of installed capacity.”
Kolesnikov said that the nuclear energy has the ability to create an entire industry on its own, including uranium mining, NPP and research reactor construction, as well as design and nuclear power equipment manufacturing.
“This industrial boost will lead towards economic development, generating taxes and creating much needed jobs.”
Kolesnikov then addressed the availability of nuclear skills in the country, which have been present for over 50 years, and those skills that are to be further built up with the nuclear new build programme.
He mentioned that there has already been a good track record of cooperation between Russian and South African experts in various nuclear areas, including enriched uranium supplies, cooperation in the frames of the PBMR project and isotope production.
An “obvious solution”
By noting that the country is a water scarce nation and that the recent drought has further impacted the economy, Kolesnikov stressed that nuclear is “the most obvious solution” for the country.
Kolesnikov concluded: “In my mind the most obvious solution for South Africa’s current challenges would be nuclear power. It is one the cleanest and statistically the safest form of energy available on the planet today.
“As a long term investment, it is extremely cost effective, especially when considering its operational lifespan over 60 years, twice that of coal and three times that of renewables.”