Feb 08, 2013
SA to reach nuclear 'point of no return' by JuneBack
© Reuse this
She was speaking at the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation’s (Necsa’s) Pelindaba site, west of Pretoria, following a meeting with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) director-general Yukiya Amano, who is in South Africa as part of the agency’s infrastructure assessment mission.
Magubane said the country was progressing through the various milestones endorsed by Cabinet ahead of any nuclear decision and indicated that that government still considered the solution as central to meeting the policy objectives of supply security and reducing the country’s carbon footprint.
South Africa’s current Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for the period 2010 to 2030 envisaged the deployment of 9 600 MW of new nuclear capacity between 2023 and 2030. However, delays to the process meant that the first new nuclear capacity was unlikely to enter the system by 2023 as initially envisaged.
In addition, the IRP was due for review, with most energy-sector observers having noted that it is no longer aligned with changes in the global electricity sector, notably in the low proportion of generation capacity allocated to natural gas. In addition, the demand-growth assumptions were unlikely to be met, owing to far slower economic growth and rising power prices.
Nevertheless, Magubane indicated that a nuclear determination was likely to be published by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters in March, which would be followed by a decision on a build programme by June.
This decision would be overseen by the National Nuclear Energy Executive Coordination Committee (NNEECC), which is chaired by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
The NNEECC comprised political and technical components and included Ministers and directors-general from DoE, the National Treasury, the Department of Public Enterprises, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Environmental Affairs. Representatives from Eskom, which has been designated as the owner-operator of any new nuclear power plants, Necsa and the National Nuclear Regulator have seconded staff to its technical committees.
The DoE had commissioned consultants to interrogate the cost and financing options associated with the development, which some have estimated could involve an investment of up to R1-trillion.
Those cost projections together with the possible financing frameworks would be delivered to the NNEECC by June and would be used to inform any procurement process that could arise.
Amano, meanwhile, was in South Africa as part of an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, through which IAEA experts had been requested to conduct an independent assessment of South Africa’s nuclear infrastructure and its readiness to pursue major new developments.
The INIR had been identified by government as a critical milestone ahead of any investment decision and/or public consultation process.
The IAEA mission followed on from a South African self-assessment report, which was completed in mid-2012 and which had been submitted to the IAEA team.
The IAEA experts, who visited South Africa between January 30 and February 8, had already compiled a preliminary report, which was handed to government at 11:00 on Friday, February 8.
The review, which is not legally binding, assessed the country’s readiness to start purchasing, constructing and operating nuclear power plants and is based on an evidence-based questionnaire covering 19 key nuclear issues, from funding and financing through to security and waste management.
Amano said South Africa was the first African country to undertake such an assessment and the first country with existing nuclear capacity to do so.
This, he argued, demonstrated South Africa’s commitment to pursuing a responsible programme in a transparent manner.
Details of possible policy, technical, regulatory, safety, security and skills gaps were not immediately divulged, but Magubane said that government was committed to making the results public once the final IAEA report became available.
Amano praised government openness, saying that it was important for the credibility of the nuclear industry for both the good and the bad news to be shared.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Infrastructure News
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel has announced its fourth consecutive year of profits. The group's results for the financial year 2013/2014 were recently announced at its head office in Centurion, south of Pretoria. Revenues grew by 17%, net...
There is little opportunity for JSE-listed infrastructure company Group Five to grow shareholder value in the domestic market, says CEO Mike Upton. He says value can still be found in the private sector, in the renewable and industrial power sector, as well as in...
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) has announced the event dates of the 2015 Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS). The event will take place from October 14 to October 25, 2015, at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec.
UK engineering support services provider Babcock is set to deliver the largest order of global truck manufacturer DAF’s truck tractors in Southern Africa to bulk carrier road-based logistics company Ngululu Bulk Carriers (NBC), with 133 trucks to be delivered in...
Digital radio communications in the African local government space can open up the world, but have many challenges to overcome, notes integration and migration of legacy radio communications infrastructure with digital mobile radio company Emcom Wireless head of...