Cape Town, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 07 March 2012 – No details can be given at this stage on plans for the construction of new nuclear power stations in South Africa, as the proposal is still in its early stages.
Confirming this here at the launch of energy month, energy minister Dipuo Peters said: “To date no directive has been given on the issue of the nuclear programme.”
She added that the department was in no way uncertain of its role and responsibilities in the build programme, and that it would release information at the right time.
The government’s integrated resource plan aims to boost electricity base load in South Africa by scaling up the nuclear output to 9.6 gigawatts (GW). According to the Treasury’s 2012 Budget Review, tabled recently by finance minister Pravin Gordhan, the target date for achieving this is 2029.
According to the review, the nuclear build project is “in the final stages of consideration before a financial proposal can be determined.”
The department has disclosed that it anticipates the first output of nuclear power in 2023 at 1,600 megawatts (MW).
Peters said no decision had been made on how many nuclear plants were to be built. She also denied that the first plant would be built at Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape. “An environmental impact assessment is currently under way in Thyspunt. We’re not in a position to say that it has been decided.”
As a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the country will use a standard
milestone approach in its nuclear programme decision-making.
The first milestone is a decision by government to commit to a nuclear programme. A feasibility study would be released at this point; the second milestone is an invitation for bids; and the third milestone is the commissioning of the power plants.
The department will take lessons about building high technology plants from countries like South Korea, China and Japan, the report added.