Energy dept hails Nersa's concurrence with nuclear build programme

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Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
  • The Nuclear New Build Programme determination has its beginnings in the 2019 iteration of the Integrated Resource Plan.
  • The Department of Mineral Resources said 2 500MW in the New Nuclear Build Programme allows enough capacity to stabilise energy supply.
  • The 2019 Integrated Resource Plan says that a New Nuclear Build Programme should be pursued at a pace and scale that South Africa can afford.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy hailed the National Energy Regulator of South Africa's concurrence of Minister Gwede Mantashe's determinations for 2500WM of nuclear energy generation capacity.

The determination relates to the nuclear new build programme and has its beginnings in the 2019 iteration of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which states that a New Nuclear Build Programme (NNBP) should be pursued at a pace and scale that South Africa can afford.

In June last year, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy issued a Request for Information (RFI) in a bid to test the market for the successful implementation of the Nuclear New Build Programme.

This past month Mantashe gazetted amendments to rules allowing licence exemptions for the generation and operation of 100 MW of power. The department said in a statement that nuclear energy was "integral to South Africa's future energy mix as a country".

"The 2 500MW for Nuclear New Build Programme is further informed by South Africa's Nuclear Energy Policy of 2008 whereby principle three states that nuclear energy shall form part of South Africa's strategy to mitigate climate change," the statement said.

The statement said a "thorough assessment" of the RFI responses indicated that the market had a strong appetite and saw feasibility for the implementation of the New Nuclear Build Programme in South Africa.

"The timing of the procurement is informed amongst others by the planned decommissioning of the coal power plant fleet of 24 100MW post 2030 which would introduce instabilities to the national electricity grid," the statement said.

The department's statement concluded that the procurement of the 2 500MW in the New Nuclear Build Programme in 2024 provides South Africa with enough time for the development and connection to the energy grid as well as ensure continued security of supply.

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