As SA restarts nuclear plan, critics and advocates clash over its clean energy credentials

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South Africa is planning to add 2 500 MW of new nuclear power to the grid sometime after 2030.
South Africa is planning to add 2 500 MW of new nuclear power to the grid sometime after 2030.
Alexandra Beier/Getty Images

As South Africa's revived nuclear power plan moves forward, questions over the green credentials of atomic power have added another dimension to an already fraught debate between critics and proponents of nuclear energy.

The debate mirrors one taking place internationally about where, if at all, nuclear power should fit into the battle against climate change.

While nuclear proponents say its 60-year history shows it to be a dependable source of low carbon energy, critics say it assumes the mantle of clean energy without a full reckoning of the environmental impact from nuclear power plant construction, the need to mine uranium, and nuclear waste.  

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