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Africa|Energy|Environment|Modular|Nuclear|Power|Projects|Renewable Energy|Resources|Environmental
Africa|Energy|Environment|Modular|Nuclear|Power|Projects|Renewable Energy|Resources|Environmental
africa|energy|environment|modular|nuclear|power|projects|renewable-energy|resources|environmental

SAFCEI critical of govt’s new nuclear procurement plans

26th May 2023

By: Lumkile Nkomfe

Creamer Media Reporter

     

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Multifaith environmental justice organisation, South African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI), has decried the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s (DMRE’s) plans to procure more nuclear power as a step in the wrong direction.

The organisation has cited the long build times and lengthy over-runs as ineffective in urgently dealing with the energy crisis the country is facing.

It has called for transparency from the department relating to the sharing of its decision-making plans. Public engagements and consultations have also been mooted.

In considering the government’s approach to financing nuclear energy, SAFCEI has encouraged caution so as not to indebt South Africa for generations into the future.

“Cost and affordability are critical issues in energy decision-making. Globally, we are seeing huge reductions in the cost of renewable energy. So, looking at affordability, there are no models that would suggest nuclear energy would be cheaper than renewables, now or in the future,” said SAFCEI executive director Francesca de Gasparis.

Owing to the expected delays and overrun costs seen on sizable projects such as Medupi and Kusile, SAFCEI is not convinced that the costs associated with financing nuclear would be cheaper than other energy options.

De Gasparis noted the geopolitics involving Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a risk that could place the country in a difficult position given the negative public sentiments displayed towards Russia.

Small nuclear reactors are still deemed to be under development. 

“To our knowledge, there are no modular reactor options that have good prospects of being ready for commercialisation by 2030,” she added.

SAFCEI has highlighted that the lawfulness and legitimacy of the new nuclear procurement needs to be underpinned by the meaningful participation of the public through commenting and providing inputs on decisions taken by the department.

Edited by Sashnee Moodley
Senior Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia

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