“Nuclear Power” Continuing to be a part of SA Energy Mix
15 Sep 2018
Nuclear power will still remain part of South Africa’s energy mix, Parliament has heard.
At a briefing by the Independent Power Producers (IPP) Office to the portfolio committee on energy Director General of the energy department Thabane Zulu said that it should not come as a surprise that nuclear energy is part of SA's new Integrated Resources Plan, or IRP.
Zulu said that the courts last year raised issues with the implementation of SA's nuclear programme, not its viability within the country's energy mix.
“The matter is legally challenged at the moment. It is not about whether nuclear is part of the energy The department is currently working on a “roadmap” for nuclear power in SA, he said. This would take into account legal processes and issues raised during last year's court cases.
When asked by DA MP Gavin Davis if this meant that government would go ahead with nuclear power in future, Zulu said he would not get involved in political matters.
Davis then questioned why new Energy Minister Jeff Radebe and his deputy Thembi Majola had not attended the committee briefing.
Radebe and Majola had both sent their apologies, chair Zukisa Faku confirmed.
The DA called for Radebe, who was named energy minister in late February, to make a decisive announcement about the country's plans for nuclear energy.
Former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, speaking at a post-budget briefing in February, had said that South Africa could not afford to invest in nuclear energy.
Gigaba said at the time that power utility Eskom had sufficient supply to meet the economy's current energy demands.
He added, however, that SA may have to consider nuclear power again in about 2023 if the economy were to grow strongly.
Zulu, meanwhile, said the department of energy is set to meet with Radebe to brief him on the IPP so that he can get an understanding of how it is working.
The matter would receive urgent attention, he said.