Government's new energy plan includes new nuclear stations

The government has gazetted its new long-term energy master plan, which includes new plans for smaller nuclear plants.

The Integrated Resource Plan was was approved for promulgation by Cabinet earlier in the week. The the long-awaited, 100-page plan is the state's official blueprint for future energy generation, including things like projected electricity demand, cost estimates, and from what sources power will be generated.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Cabinet indicated that the IRP would include nine interventions for the country to respond to energy needs in the next decade.

Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe told a media briefing on Friday morning that South Africa is not planning large nuclear units, but smaller, modular nuclear plants.

These interventions included:

  • Government will begin preparations for a nuclear build programme to the extent of 2 500 MW "at a pace and scale that the country can afford, because it is a no-regret option in the long term".
  • The Koeberg nuclear power plant will be extended by another 20 years. The Koeberg plant was supposed to reach its end of life by 2024.
  • Government will immediately start to buy power from private suppliers.

The plan also refers to the changing role of Eskom, as its generation, transmission and distribution functions will be separated. 

This article was updated at 18:00 on Friday 18 October to reflect the correct version of the IRP, released by the department of mineral resources and energy on Friday afternoon. The incorrect version of the document was published in the Government Gazette on Friday morning.

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