New nu­clear plant will be ‘on stream by 2020’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

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

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