Necsa: Time to move on SA’s nuclear plans

Necsa: Time to move on SA’s nuclear plans

The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) believes the time has come to revitalise the country’s nuclear energy sector.

power plant.PNG

Necsa chairperson David Nicholls says the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has set the ball rolling with the issuing of a request for information (RFI) for the possible construction of new nuclear power plants.

This RFI was issued last month and will enable the department to gain insight into the cost of the programme, possible ownership structures, cost recovery and sustainability.

In a tweet following the publication of the notice, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said the RFI signalled the start of preparatory work for a future nuclear energy build programme.

“We are very supportive of the RFI but our view is that too much time has been spent debating of what might be the outcome without actually going into the commercial process,” says Nicholls.

“We have to get to the point of actually looking at the numbers of what a deal will look like.”

The department issued a request for information for 2 500 megawatts of capacity.

“It is vital that we go forward and we allow for this process to proceed and we have a very positive and solid debate over the next couple of years as the numbers come out as to whether it is a good solution for the country or not," Nicholls says.

“We clearly believe it is a good solution for the country,."


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Submissions will close on September 15.

“This is a document generated by the department and it is their thing. I am understanding from the department that they will be looking for support from both Eskom and Necsa to evaluate what comes back in again," Nicholls adds.

“My assumption is we will be asked to get involved when the replies come back in September and help analyse what they mean.”

The country currently has a single nuclear plant at Koeberg near Cape Town.

Plans for additional facilities faded after former president Jacob Zuma stepped down as president in 2018.

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