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S.Africa and France foster long-term nuclear relationship

South Africa strengthens ties with France to ensure high level of expertise for its new nuclear build programme

On Monday, President of the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA), Dr Rob Adam, and Valérie Faudon, Director General from the French Nuclear Society (SFEN), signed a cooperation agreement. The intention of the agreement is to nurture the advancement of science and technology in nuclear energy, and to stimulate knowledge sharing between experts from both countries.

This agreement is an extension of the already long-standing contract, which has been in place since 1976, when South Africa developed its first and only nuclear power plant.

Nuclear: Tackling effects of climate change

The agreement was signed at the UN climate summit in Paris, where SFEN and NIASA are working together to find the optimal solution to mitigating the effects of climate change.

SFEN and NIASA highlighted that: “the world must use all low-carbon energy sources, including nuclear energy, if it is to limit climate change while still meeting development goals.

“IPCC says that 80% of electricity must be low-carbon at a global level by 2050 to achieve the 2°C goal”.

NIASA said in a statement: “The fact is that, thanks to the long cooperation between France and South Africa, nuclear energy is a low-carbon and efficient industrial solution, already available in South Africa.

“The Koeberg nuclear power plant, operated by Eskom, generates 5% of South Africa’s electricity. Since the start of operation in 1984, Koeberg’s reactors avoided the emission of 330 million tonnes CO2, corresponding to about 1.5 year of the total coal consumption in South Africa.”

NIASA and SFEN share the belief that nuclear energy supports low-carbon growth of South Africa.

The development of nuclear power technology must be encouraged if we are to meet climate targets. Therefore, South Africa’s National Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP2010) plans for the coming years massive new renewable energies as well as nuclear build,” NIASA added.

Energy demand

According to the nuclear association, South Africa’s electricity consumption is expected to double from the 43.9GW demand in 2010 to 89.5GW in 2030.

They added that the IRP2010 predicts a generation capacity of 89,532MW for 2030 with 57% fossil fuels, 26% renewable and 15% nuclear at 11,400MW.

South Africa’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted for COP21 in Paris expresses its commitment to “working with others to ensure temperature increases are kept well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.”

Faudon said: “Nuclear energy is therefore part of the solution to mitigate the risks of climate change.”

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.