New nuclear plant will be ‘on stream by 2020’
SOUTH AFRICA’s next-generation nuclear power plant could be up and running by 2020, the energy ministry said yesterday.
“It should be up 2020 or just beyond that,” said spokesman Bheki Khumalo, providing feedback on a speech made earlier by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters.
“From the bidding process, it takes almost a decade to get them on stream.”
Earlier, Peters said at least 70 000 jobs could be created through the construction of next-generation nuclear plants.
“This figure will be much higher if we include approxi- mately 300 000 indirect jobs that will be created throughout the entire nuclear value chain,” she told delegates at a nuclear conference.
The National Energy Regulator of SA is conducting feasibility studies on moving away from coal towards nuclear energy and renewable power. Peters plans to approach the cabinet in February with an outline of how the government should proceed.
She said the nuclear industry could be part of the international supply chain of much larger players.
“We remain firmly committed to the realisation of the vision of catapulting our country into the mainstream of industrial and technological innovation,” she said.
“Accordingly, in order to achieve a sustainable nuclear programme and to obtain the potential economic benefits, we are investigating the re-establishment of the complete nuclear fuel cycle. In this regard, Nersa is currently conducting feasibility studies.”
Peaceful nuclear capability use and nearly 25 years of experience at Koeberg had demonstrated that the country had the capacity and capability to manage nuclear plants successfully, said Peters.
“I am convinced that we shall do the same with the next generation of nuclear plants that we will surely build.”
She said it would be “too ghastly to contemplate” delays in the commissioning of the Medupi power plant, expected to be ready by the winter of 2013, and Kusile, soon after. – Sapa