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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Deputy Energy Minister Nobuhle Nkabane says SA should invest in nuclear energy

Nobuhle Nkabane said it has been proven internationally that nuclear energy provides an invaluable electricity source.

As Eskom continues its battles to keep the lights on and avoid load shedding, Deputy Minerals and Energy Minister Nobuhle Nkabane said nuclear energy provides an electricity source that that the country should extensively invest in.

Nkabane was speaking at the Nuclear Technology Imbizo under the theme “Promoting Global Partnership to Support the South African New Nuclear Build Program”.

The imbizo was organised by the South African Young Nuclear Professionals Society (SAYNPS), in collaboration with Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA), Women in Nuclear South Africa (WINSA) and Southern African Radiation Protection Society (SARPA).

Nkabane said Nuclear is an important issue, and a highly topical one in South Africa – for the government, parliament and the public alike.

“Especially at this point where, as the Department, we plan to advance towards procuring the 2500MW nuclear programme by 2024. This programme was identified as one of those supporting the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan whilst ensuring security of energy supply.” 

Nkabane said it has been proven internationally that nuclear energy provides an invaluable electricity source.

“The Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant provides about 5 percent of clean reliable electricity into national grid. The Eskom team and other key stakeholders is working to extend the lifespan of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant by 20 years subject to regulatory approval. We are grateful for the International Energy Agency’s continued support to Eskom through the peer review missions on the Safety Aspects of Long-Term Operation at our Koeberg power station.”

While the minister made reference to the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant, Eskom on 4 March said it had decided to delay the replacement of three steam generators (SGR) at the Koeberg Power Station until 2023 to avoid the risk of impacting electricity supply and generation capacity.

The Koeberg Power Station unit 2 shut down on 18 January due to a fuelling and maintenance outage, the scope of which included the replacement of the three steam generators on the unit.

Nkabane reiterated principle Number 3 of South Africa’s Nuclear Energy Policy, which states that “Nuclear Energy shall form part of South Africa’s strategy to mitigate climate change.”

“The Integrated Resource Plan of 2019 indicates that the expected decommissioning of approximately 24 100MW of coal fired power plants post-2030 supports the need for additional capacity from cleaner baseload energy technologies including giving recognition to nuclear as a clean energy source.”

Nkabane said South Africa acknowledges that nuclear plays a pivotal role as one of the clean energy sources that are needed to achieve Net-Zero Emissions by 2050.

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