18 September 2007 – The International Energy Agency (IAEA) has heard South Africa’s nuclear energy plans at its general meeting, currently underway in Vienna, Austria.
Minister of minerals and energy, Buyelwa Sonjica said the South African Cabinet had approved the Draft Nuclear Energy Policy and Strategy and released it for public comment. The policy, driven by issues of security of supply, global climate change and beneficiation of strategic mineral resources, provides a framework for the realisation of an extensive nuclear programme in South Africa.
"The resurgence in the use of nuclear energy for electricity production is strong and many countries, including South Africa, have realised the need to diversify their energy mix to ensure security of supply and to maintain their economies," she said.
South Africa was facing an increase in demand for electricity and measures were being taken to ensure no shortfall in that regard. Estimates of an additional 40 000 MW are projected over the next 20 years.
With only 6 percent of all electricity in South Africa being generated by nuclear power, Eskom was investigating an expansion of its nuclear power capacity to 20 000MW by 20205.
Initial investigations were being done into advanced pressurised water reactors with a combined capacity of some 3 500MW. Environmental authorisations have already commenced and negotiations with vendors would commence in earnest within the next six months.