Nuclear energy 'not a quick fix for SA'

2011-05-30 16:50

Cape  - Nuclear energy is not a quick-fix solution for South Africa's energy shortages, said Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters on Monday.

"We in South Africa have understand that nuclear is not a quick fix solution but a long term method to address the energy crisis and climate change challenge," she said in a speech prepared for delivery at the second regional conference on Energy and Nuclear Power in Africa, held in Cape Town.

"Considering long term commitment to nuclear, countries interested in embarking on this programme will require at least 100 years to maintain sustainable and safety operation of the nuclear power, decommissioning and waste disposal," she said.

Nuclear energy forms part of the integrated resources plan (IRP) which sets out the country's energy mix up to 2030. Nuclear would contribute 23 percent of the energy supply.

Peters said SA should work with its regional neighbours on projects to secure energy supply.


"We have seen this in regional blocs such as the European Union countries joining forces to share strengths and mitigate weaknesses. As you are all aware, the African Union is just that platform.

"I hope that though your deliberations today and beyond, a way forward on collaboration on nuclear energy on the African continued can be formulated."

Peters said there were several electricity generation projects planned or under construction in African for coal fired power stations and hydroelectric power.

"Where possible we must pursue these in a collaborative manner, maximise knowledge and resources for these projects.

"This approach may even ease our ability to raise funds for these projects and reduce the levels of financial assistance required from the international development finance organisations such as the World Bank and IMF."

Peters said African countries such as SA, Namibia, Niger and Gabon were rich in uranium needed to produce nuclear energy.

"This gives the African states the confidence that they can rely on Africa for their uranium supplies," she said.

"This mineral must also benefit Africans through job creation. Partnership with all stakeholders in this value chain, including trade unions involved in mining of energy minerals is essential."

The minister said the public's confidence in nuclear power had been shaken by the tragedy in Japan where a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami in March crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing releases of radioactivity.

"All of us working in the nuclear field have an enormous task ahead of us to assure the public that nuclear power plants can be operated safely and to earn their trust," she said.

"It is our duty to work hard and communicate transparently about the risk of radiation and address the concerns raised by the Fukushima accident."

She warned, however, that this communication should not be "alarmist".

  • Zakhele - 2011-05-30 17:27

    Bring back the PBMR lady!

  • Jakob - 2011-05-30 17:58

    en hulle leer ok nie nadat wat in japan gebeur ht...

      Cire - 2011-05-30 19:21

      Jakob - Japan demonstrated that you shouldn't build nuclear pwer stations on top of fault lines!

      Peter - 2011-05-31 07:12

      Cire - Japan demonstrated that you shouldn't build nuclear power stations.

  • willvp - 2011-05-30 18:20

    Germany decided TODAY that by 2022 all of their nuclear power stations will be mothballed. Here they start building them. Africa is 50 years behind or there is a lot of money to be grabbed by the cadres.

      Joe_Massahar - 2011-05-30 19:50

      No, the German government are just being pussies!! And they have a more vocal and critical population. There is no problem with nuclear so long as those running it are not affirmative appointments, and they don't cut corners.

      Kyle - 2011-05-30 20:39

      No, this does not mean Africa is behind. Nuclear is the future. Most renewable energy sources requires inefficient process.

  • muti - 2011-05-30 18:36

    How far ARE we behind the rest of the world!? Over the weekend, Germany announced that all nuclear power stations will be closed down by 2022, 11 years from now by spending money wisely on research and development of renewable resources. Where is Dipuo Peter's head? 100 years? The technology is far from that old but developed countries are discarding it and South Africa wants to expand it. Furthermore, Mother Nature has warned that no matter what precautions you think you've taken, she WILL prove you wrong if you play with fire! And as for our government to 'communicate transparently', what a joke - the 'arms dea; comes to mind. I wonder who the tenderpreneurs will be to pocket this little deal.

  • ProudSA - 2011-05-30 18:43

    Nuclear is still the cheapest way to get energy and in a country with no natural disasters, makes perfect sence. Germany is jumping the gun. Renewable energy is brilliant idea, but in reality the cost is still to high. Let the first world work this out and we can copy.

  • Cire - 2011-05-30 19:20

    Yes it is! Just build the damn things and get it over with. The only delay is caused by the eco-loonies and the nitwit politicians who listen to them!

  • Fundi42 - 2011-05-30 19:21

    Italy abandoned nuclear energy in a knee-jerk reaction after Chernobyl. Today they are the largest importer of electricity in Europe. France, which embraced nuclear energy, is the largest exporter of electricity in Europe. Guess where Italy imports its electricity from?

  • TamaraSays - 2011-05-30 21:02

    What about parabolic trough solar farms? What about wind farms? What about geo thermal energy projects in abandoned mines? Or will taking the coal contracts away from BEE big wigs make someone cry?

  • Justin - 2011-05-31 08:09

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