Nuclear energy will be implemented at an affordable scale and pace: Gigaba
Sipho Mabena | 2017-04-04 18:27:26.0
“It is not a figment of imagination… it was adopted by cabinet as a programme to implement as we diversify our energy mix and bring on board environment friendly energy generation‚” said Gigaba. File photo
Image by: © Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Nuclear-based electricity generation will be implemented at a scale and pace South Africa could afford‚ new finance minister Malusi Gigaba said in Pretoria on Tuesday.
The minister said the nuclear programme arose from the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010 which was adopted by cabinet.
“It is not a figment of imagination… it was adopted by cabinet as a programme to implement as we diversify our energy mix and bring on board environment friendly energy generation‚” he said.
Gigaba said when government decided on the nuclear deal‚ it was not only looking at mitigating the effect of climate change and reducing carbon-based generation‚ but also at building a base-load for electricity.
The minister said asking whether the country could afford the nuclear programme was premature‚ saying the decision of where the power stations would be built‚ whether they would be built at the same time or in phases would be determined by what the country could afford.
“[This] will be determined by what the country can afford. So we will pace ourselves according to that‚” he said.
The minister said this was what his predecessor Pravin Gordhan had said about the programme‚ saying currently they were at a stage where no decision had been taken except to say “we will have 9 600 megawatt generation capacity”.
He emphasised no decision had been taken on the programme‚ saying “to ask whether the country can afford nuclear‚ I think is a bit premature. We will answer the question at the right time… once all the work has been done”.
Gigaba lamented the fact that despite three new power stations‚ the country was not generating enough power as some of its power stations were old and others were being decommissioned.
He said Eskom generated about 40 000-plus megawatts of electricity and by 2012 the reserve margin was always too low because of the poor performance of some of the power stations.