ANC voices caution on nuclear power plan

The Koeberg nuclear power station just outside Cape Town. (File, AFP)
The Koeberg nuclear power station just outside Cape Town. (File, AFP)

Johannesburg - The African National Congress (ANC) called for a “full, transparent and thorough cost benefit analysis of nuclear power,” as the country prepares for a bidding process to build nuclear plants.

In a document that will be discussed at its policy review conference in October, the party showed its first signs of caution as President Jacob Zuma’s government gets ready to award contracts this year to build nuclear plants that will generate 9 600 megawatts.

“Government must also announce publicly that nuclear energy can only be procured in line with the legal prescripts and after a thoroughgoing affordability assessment,” the ANC said in the document that was released on Monday.

Russia’s state-owned Rosatom, Areva SA, EDF SA, Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding and Korea Electric Power have shown an interest in bidding for the project, which may cost about R1.3trn.

With South African power demand now expected to be less than previously forecast in 15 years, the country will only need more nuclear power after 2025 and could abandon it altogether if other sources of energy are sufficient, the Business Day newspaper reported, citing an amendment to the government’s Integrated Resource Plan for 2010-2030, which was never published.

In its policy document, the ANC called on the government to further explore the “enormous” hydropower and gas power options in the region and to improve its planning for energy generation.


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