Minister: No details on nuke stations
Cape Town - No details can be given on the plan to build new nuclear power stations as it is still in its early stages, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday.
"To date no directive has been given on the issue of the nuclear programme," she told reporters at the launch of energy month in Cape Town.
She said the department was in no way uncertain of its role and responsibilities in the build programme and would release information timeously.
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.
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 revealed on Tuesday that they anticipated the first output of nuclear power in 2023 at 1 600 megawatts.
Peters said no decision had been made on how many nuclear plants were to be built. She also denied the first plant would be built at Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape.
"An Environmental Impact Assessment is currently underway 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 would use a standard milestone approach in its nuclear programme decision-making.
The first milestone was a decision by government to commit to a nuclear programme. A feasibility study would be released at this point.
The second milestone was an invitation for bids.
The third milestone was the commissioning of the power plants.
A presentation on Tuesday showed that various risks of a nuclear programme would be considered, including that of nuclear liability, electricity market conditions, and plant operation performance.
The department would take lessons about building high technology plants from countries like South Korea, China, and Japan.