R300bn for nuclear plants not 'end amount'

2012-02-28 21:11

Cape Town - The R300bn allocated in the Budget for building new nuclear power plants is not the final amount for the project, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday.

"I think that the amount of money that has been allocated... for the nuclear build is not a thumb-suck, and we don't actually think that is the end amount, but we believe that it is the beginning," she said.

Responding via video-link to questions posed during a media briefing in Cape Town, she declined to give further information on the specifications or tenders for the nuclear plants.

"I don't want to pre-empt the work of [the government's] nuclear energy co-ordinating committee," Peters said.

The media would be kept informed once this information was available.

The government's integrated resource plan aims to boost electricity base load in South Africa by scaling up the nuclear output to 9.6GW.

According to the Treasury's 2012 Budget Review, tabled last week 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".

In statement on Tuesday, the DA called for a parliamentary debate on nuclear-build funding.

"I have today written to the Speaker of Parliament to call for an urgent debate on government's intended nuclear fleet build programme," said Democratic Alliance energy spokesperson Lance Greyling.

Parliament had to have the opportunity to "reverse the silence" on this matter.

"Strangely, neither President [Jacob Zuma] nor the minister of finance saw fit to mention the largest-ever procurement in South African history in the state-of-the-nation address or the Budget speech.

"This is despite a surreptitious R300bn allocation appearing in the 2012 Budget Review," he said.

Greyling said there had also been no opportunity for the public to scrutinise a nuclear programme.

"Not only will it cost nearly a third of our annual budget, but there are serious safety and environmental concerns to consider."

The DA would not allow government's nuclear plans to be executed under a "cloud of secrecy", he said.

  • Morne - 2012-02-28 21:23

    Kaboom! Wind- & solarpower is the best form of energy!

      John - 2012-02-29 01:01

      It's safe...and Imagine a strike in nuclear plant....hell no. Rather go back to candles. Facility as such in SA must be operated by eskimos to ensure that no one will use it adversely.

      kthage - 2012-02-29 06:17

      @ISO, you can't even get a 50% efficiecy with Solar or Wind Power.@John, the average Joe wouldn't be employed by a Nuclear plant. Nuclear facilities are not labour intensive, a bunch of Scientists and Engineers is all we need. How often do you have to refuel a nuclear power station? We already have two power station, have we had problems that your describing? South African's have a tendency to always be negative at everything. I agree with DA, the Nuclear budget & plan needs to be scrutinized openly.

      John - 2012-02-29 07:46

      Kabelo, Just becouse you mentioned that "bunch of scientist and engineers" are needed, you already scared me. I'm definetly for back to candles rather. About problems, read Pelendaba 1996,2009 Radiation leaks, 2007 Armed attack on facility Koeberg 2010 Radioactive dust spread, 1986 Armed attack on facility, Numerous outbreaks (2006 was epic) That nuclear business cannot be operated by "bunch" or political parties. all those facilities was not your everage Joe. Tendency for being negative? Give me something positive and I'll change my tendency, why not....everyone will change. Someone that cannot estimate base project costs in fase aproach...hell im not positive. Next thing will be that cannot be estimated the preasure in reactor.

      Mark - 2012-02-29 08:02

      John Since you love throwing "facts" around, how about you give us the total number of human deaths caused by nuclear plant meltdowns over human history? And then dam failures (hydro-electricity)? And then fire when candles and wood stoves set houses alight?

      John - 2012-02-29 09:27

      Mark, I like a proudly South African Statements like that. South Africa adopt technologies during apartheid period and now read carefully.....not the best and not the most reliable. Don't try to compare SA know-how and what SA have in place with rest of the world, becose this is your biggest mistake. What French companies told you about those plants 5 years ago based on their technology? Too old, unsafe, coslty to maintain. What have you done about belived that you can repair, while everyone in the world seals facilities as such. Carefull with those plans, becouse you might beat all reccords. More people died from radiation that hydro-electricity dam failures. Only workers from Nuclear plants that died in "Normal Working Conditions" are more than anything that hydro-electricity dam failure can cause. I don't know if you are familiar how cleaning of reactor is done. You will never ask for statistics as such again. About candles...I've got that one for you: "It's better candle in the hand than nuke in the a$$"

      Ian - 2012-02-29 09:47

      Nooo seh, de tree hundred beeleeon is jus fo de bribery an tendahs fo de family membahs..........

      Malcolm - 2012-02-29 11:03

      Yes Ian, we all clearly remember the mammoth theft that occurred with the arms deal of a paltry R45bill; now can you begin to imagine the unbridled theft when a gigantic R300bill is spent on nuclear power. Gordhan’s hidden agenda contained in his purposeful failure to even mention this R300bill in his budget speech is cause for great alarm. While the smoke and mirrors begin to clear I now understand why the Info Bill is so darn important to the ANC and why they tried to ram it through Parliament in the teeth of near-universal opposition warning of unconstitutional behaviour.

  • Phillip De Waal - 2012-02-28 21:23

    "I think that the amount of money that has been allocated... for the nuclear build is not a thumb-suck, and we don't actually think that is the end amount, but we believe that it is the beginning," she said. Thanks Minister, for making that as clear as mud...

      Max - 2012-02-28 21:32

      You must have some empathy with her, she has no clue what so ever of what is talking about.

      John - 2012-02-28 21:56

      Ayy Kona, Put nuke on the table, sorry....put bread on the table Economics are simple.

      Sedick - 2012-02-28 22:06

      Where do they find these idiots? Oh yes, Rent-a-Cadre......

  • Jameel - 2012-02-28 21:50

    Can you just imagine the amount of corruption that will take place here.

      Max - 2012-02-28 22:04

      Exactly, when is someone going to tell us what is happening with the money that Escom receives with the annual 30% tariff increases? It seems like even Zuma is beginning to feel uncomfortable with this situation and therefore his request for investigating a cheaper alternative. How ironical will it be if such an alternative exists and it is only found out now after the Energy commission approved all the increases. We are governed by a bunch of incompetent fools.

      Francois - 2012-02-28 22:36

      I think the corruption has already started. Why did she not know the answer? Is it not because she does not know how much it will cost to pay people to keep quiet? With 300Billion, one can upgrade Cahora Bassa and have the transmission lines right into SA - then it is hydro power and good neighbourhoodship (and cheaper). Start Educating the people around you people as the uneducated will keep these thieves in power as long as the uneducated gets their food hampers.

  • Traygon - 2012-02-28 23:07

    They say how much it will cost but not how they will store or get rid of the nuclear waste... or did I miss something here?

  • braamc - 2012-02-29 02:08

    The birth of more tenderpreneurs and off course the filthy Chinese

  • kthage - 2012-02-29 06:27

    Yes discuss the Nuclear plan openly. The government is pissing me off, how can they commit to something that will be completed by 2029? An optimistic time-line for a nuclear power plant is 5 years. With R300 Billion we could easily build two Nuclear plants that will be active in by 2018. You cannot expect to increase manufacturing plants and mineral benefication without adequate power supply. The more power we have, the more investment we will attract. Running projects that go over several decades will only escalate the costs, anything can happen between now and 2029.

  • Paul - 2012-02-29 08:08

    Why is nucular power needed - Mozimbque and Tanzania have discovered huge amounts of natural gas and the logical markets for this gas is SA. Eskom and SA business should be investing in pipelines from these areas to SA. To improve enviromental performance SA could then convert some of the current coal power stations to gas i.e. the stations that Eskom has to fuel with transported coal. This would be a win win situation for the whole of SADAC.

  • adrian.gornall - 2012-02-29 08:34

    Nuclear is still the most cost effective and cleanest energy source there is. Wind and Solar? High maintenance and how large an area of land/sea do you have to destroy to install these windmills and solar panels. This will destroy large amounts of land areas and eco systems. Wind and Solar are still great for small applications but not for a national power supply.

      richard.fahrenfort - 2012-02-29 10:26

      The only reason nuclear power is still around is because its very profitable for the brokers. I mean, a R30 billion rand loan is much less than a R300 billion one. Cost effective my foot! Also, what do you propose we do with the area that we dump the nuclear waste in since we cant use it for the next 5000 years? Instead of wrecking that area, put in the windmills and pumps and solar panels in that area that wasn't inhabited or being used anyway. Its not difficult at all. The technology already exists.

  • reza.daniels1 - 2012-02-29 10:07

    Yes we understand this is not the final figure as the list of qualifying cadres has not been finalised, pending Jule's appeal outcome. Also the "facilitation" fees for the foreign companies has not been finalised as well. So shall we set the gravy train at 500 billion then?

  • richard.fahrenfort - 2012-02-29 10:20

    Have the geniuses at our department of energy heard of Thorium? No I don't think so. Well now you have... Picture is quite large so give it time to load. I think it speaks for itself and we, and the rest of the world, really should be investing in this and not dated, dirty, very dangerous and very very expensive 'old school' nuclear reactors. There's also huge potential for lots of wind and solar power here. Come now people! Energy is a basic need. If we generate lots and lots of cheap, clean and sustainable energy for us all, we can spend the time, effort, money and expertise on really bettering our social ills and inequality

  • Spencer - 2012-02-29 10:58

    Really 300bn to start? What happened to the Pebble Bed Reactor technology that was developed locally? Sold to the Chinese. And look at the amount we have to pay some one else. Greedy bloody idiots. And we as the taxpayer has to foot the bill. I guess that makes us the idiots...

  • blake.candido - 2012-02-29 11:00

    this is the most ridiculas thing sa could do...infrastructure and clean energy should be considered long before you try blow up half of south africa or inturn pollute it with nuclear waste...government should open their eyes a bit...there is NO such thing as a quick fix and this is a giant waste of money..and when something does go wrong, who to you think will pay for it? yip thats right, you people not the government! (TAX)

  • blake.candido - 2012-02-29 12:51

    not to mention the fact that SA has forcast that in 10 years time we wont have enough water supply...i choose life over electricity any day...

      Malcolm - 2012-02-29 18:16

      @Blake: It never ceases to amaze me that our leaders fail to even mention the fact of rampant population increase by way of indiscriminate copulation, whilst bemoaning the impending water shortage. It’s a no-brainer that we won’t have enough water when the population doubles in 10 years time. How on earth can we expect natural rain to keep pace with an out-of-control immoral birth rate?

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