News24

SA could build nuclear security academy

2012-03-23 14:43

Cape Town - South Africa is line to build a US-sponsored nuclear security training academy for English speaking countries around world, MPs heard on Friday.

Dan Moagi, group human rights executive for the SA Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), told the portfolio committee on energy that an agreement on the academy was recently concluded with the US.

"We have just concluded an agreement with the US for nuclear security training," he said.

"They are prepared to donate $2m in this regard. The idea here is to build a security training academy. We are doing this in collaboration with the US.

"The focus is not to train nuclear security personnel for SA, but for English-speaking countries globally."

Taking shape


Moagi said Necsa was taking the idea "seriously" and was "busy with feasibilities now".

"Everything is taking shape," he said.

The corporation is also working with South Korea on a nuclear skills project. A group of South Korean nuclear experts visited South Africa last week.

"They are prepared to train our people free of charge. The financial expectation on our side is to make sure we pay travel expenses and boarding, but training will be for free. They are also prepared to take our people to South Korea."

The United Arab Emirates had also invited South Africa to take part in its project to build four nuclear power stations.

"They offered to give South Africans exposure during their nuclear build programme.

"So that by the time we start with our nuclear programme, our people will have managed to have acquired practical skills in this regard."

Financial difficulties


Don Robertson, acting chief executive officer of Necsa, said the corporation's spending on "upskilling" nuclear workers was one of the reasons why it had run into financial difficulties.

"It's exactly this that is causing a problem for us now. We have upskilled to an extent that we are running into financial difficulties," he said.

The committee's chairperson Sisa Njikelana said he was concerned about the corporation's vague and unclear plans on its role in the nuclear build programme.

"We are talking about a massive investment," he said.

"I would have loved to have had a couple of slides from Necsa articulating that this is what they are doing... with regards to their role for the nuclear build programme. We have to understand the bigger picture."

The South African government would have to make a decision soon on whether or not to build the country’s next nuclear power station.

Behind schedule


In February, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters called for the government to make a decision on its nuclear programme, saying the country was behind schedule on the national resources plan to generate around 9 600MW of electricity at nuclear power stations by 2030.

She told an energy summit in Johannesburg that the government was focusing particularly on obtaining sources of uranium, the development of a uranium converter plant, a uranium enrichment plant and a plant for manufacturing nuclear fuel.

The process should have started in 2011, but was delayed after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

It was important for the government to "take another look" at safety matters.

"The fact that we weren’t able to reach a decision last year means that our programme is behind schedule," Peters said.

Peters said the country had a serious shortage of skills for a nuclear power industry.

"It’s clear that we will have to develop a strategy to obtain the skills to support the entire nuclear power programme," she said.

Comments
  • clinton.badenhorst - 2012-03-23 15:06

    Great, But why SA though?

      johncarlos.biza - 2012-03-23 15:12

      Why not...

      clinton.badenhorst - 2012-03-23 15:17

      @ JohncarlosBiza - I am just thinking. There are hundreds of other countries in Europe more central to the English countries to host something like this? Why build it all the way at the tip of Africa? Does not make sense? Underlying plans maybe?

      Oscar - 2012-03-23 15:30

      Because they are the only suckers to pay for the development of the full program after a meagre $2m donation.

      Johan - 2012-03-24 05:52

      Europe probably have plenty of training Academies already.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-24 12:40

      SA because the yanks want to counter China and have a permanent spot in South Africa, a strategic military location.

      Lebogang - 2012-05-12 10:26

      because we are about to start a huge nuclear power program and some of those countries are hoping to benefit from our program

  • E=MC2 - 2012-03-23 15:07

    Lord help us. i think we should get our scholars to pass first and then turn our attention to the nuclear world.

  • Oscar - 2012-03-23 15:22

    South Africa is IN line to build a US-sponsored nuclear security training academy for English speaking countries around THE world, MPs heard on Friday...maybe the writer of this article must go back to school.

      Rob - 2012-03-23 18:15

      That is what AA gives you. Tragic I know. All we can do is watch English get slaughtered.

  • Oscar - 2012-03-23 15:26

    Don Robertson, acting chief executive officer of Necsa, said the corporation's spending on "upskilling" nuclear workers was one of the reasons why it had run into financial difficulties. "It's exactly this that is causing a problem for us now. We have upskilled to an extent that we are running into financial difficulties," he said. Ag no man please.....this is F@@@ing pathetic writing.

  • Dewald - 2012-03-23 15:42

    Raw sewerage runnig down many town's streets. Maybe the acid water will dilute the sewerage at some stage? Yet we are building a nuclear academy...

      Judith - 2012-03-23 16:24

      Logic isn't either the government's or NECSA's strong suit. The National Nuclear Regulator's budget has been cut severely so they are unable to regulate effectively what we already have

      Dewald - 2012-03-26 12:43

      I meant raw SEWAGE

  • Deon - 2012-03-23 16:09

    Plenty of money in the "West" still coming to our shores. Money for NHI, HIV, TB etc. You would never think they are in financial difficulties.

  • Hugo - 2012-03-23 16:48

    we are preparing ourselves for the nuclear age here in mzansi but I wonder what the capatalists are up to...

  • John - 2012-03-24 09:33

    Two million dollars is not going to go very far.... Who'll end up paying the balance and the running costs??

  • thedobrev - 2012-03-24 10:20

    Where are the editors? The first sentence has 2 grammatical errors. wtf?

  • Marius - 2012-03-24 10:43

    If anyone can remember, SA already have a nuclear power station (Koeberg)which we built many years ago without any help form other countries. We actually sold technology to the US. Unfortunately the brains was replaced with affirmative action and bee. Well done voters

  • mmoledis - 2012-03-24 14:06

    I think South Africa must stop its nuclear projects for generating electricity for the country and look for other sources, like solar energy system which will be better or hydroelectricity. Building of big solar powers and erect them in a specific place or yard can help in reducing strains on Eskom shoulders, like in rural areas if this can be made then government focus on other areas for other sources of electricity.

  • Lebogang - 2012-05-12 10:26

    I think is a great idea,we need better and competent security officers in our Nuclear power plants.

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