Nuclear energy key for zero emissions targets

Deputy Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, Dr Nobuhle Nkabane, says nuclear energy remains a key component in South Africa’s aim for cleaner energy consumption.

She was speaking during the 65th general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference held virtually and in-person in Austria.

“In line with the nuclear energy policy, as we embark on the Just Energy Transition in South Africa, we recognise that nuclear plays a pivotal role as one of the clean energy sources that are needed to achieve Net-Zero Emissions by 2050.

“In June 2020, South Africa issued a Request for Information to test the market appetite for the 2500MW of nuclear energy and received positive responses from 25 companies that showed an interest in this programme,” she said.

The Deputy Minister said following the request for information for the nuclear power generation programme, the department is now on track to complete the procurement process within the next two years.

“The National Energy Regulator of South Africa has recently concurred with a Ministerial section 34 determination for the procurement of 2500MW new generation capacity from nuclear energy.

“We plan to issue the Request for Proposal for 2500MW nuclear programme at end of March 2022 and complete the procurement in 2024 to support the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan and ensure security of energy supply,” she said.

Turning to the country’s current nuclear power station, Nkabane said the Koeberg Power Plant is undergoing some technical work to improve its lifespan.

“The Koeberg Power Plant design life span is current being extended by another 20 years by undertaking the necessary technical and regulatory work. We thank the IAEA continued support through the peer review missions on the Safety Aspects of Long- Term Operation at our Koeberg power station,” the Deputy Minister said.

The Koeberg project is expected to take two years to complete at a cost of at least R20 billion.

The Deputy Minister told the conference that the country remains committed to the use of nuclear energy for the betterment of society.

“South Africa is committed to global nuclear security and is currently finalizing the domestic processes for the ratification of the amended Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. I wish to emphasize South Africa’s unwavering support for the Agency’s fundamental role in ensuring that nuclear technology is used for peaceful purpose,” Nkabane said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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