10 September 2013 – South Africa’s department of energy says that the country remains committed to developing nuclear power as stipulated in the country’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010 − 2030. In March 2011, the country’s cabinet, decided that 9,600 MW will be developed using nuclear energy.
The department of energy says it plans to start public consultation in September 2013 on its Integrated Energy Plan, and in parallel it is reviewing the IRP 2010 – 2030. Preliminary results indicate that if South Africa intends to reduce its carbon footprint and also have vibrant economic growth, nuclear energy will be part of the solution.
South Africa has completed an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR). The country’s National Nuclear Energy Executive Coordinating Committee (NNEECC) and it now headed by president Jacob Zuma and six cabinet ministers, reduced from the previous 12.
Another decision taken was to make Eskom the owner-operator of the new nuclear power plants. The country is looking at various ownership options for the nuclear power plants such as an investor or equity partner to join forces with Eskom in the nuclear new build. The department of energy anticipates finalising South Africa’s nuclear procurement roadmap by November 2013.
The department of energy has noted the calls for shale gas in South Africa to replace nuclear but says that these two energy carriers are not competing rather are complementary. It says, one can play a major role in electricity provision whereas the other provides us with a portable source of energy that can be used more efficiently directly.
South Africa’s department of energy also says that the Medupi power plant delays continue to haunt the country, and valuable lessons can be learnt and incorporated in future design of other energy projects, especially the nuclear build programme.