Government considers use of nuclear energy

Nuclear Power Plant Source: Google Images

South Africa’s National Energy Regulator (Nersa) has requested that the public comment on government’s new nuclear power proposal. The proposal suggests that government procures 2500 megawatts (MW) of additional nuclear capacity by 2030.

“The capacity is to provide clean baseload capacity in response to the approximately 24 100 MW of coal capacity being decommissioned as well as to maintain supply/demand balance and improve energy security,” Nersa said.

According to the regulator, load shedding has not only resulted in a loss of security of electricity supply to the country, but has also led to massive economic loss.

“The procurement of 2500 MW from nuclear power will increase the nuclear contribution to the country energy mix from 2.4% to 5.6%,” it said.

The country’s annual electricity consumption is expected to grow by 1.8% in 2030, and by another 1.4% in 2050. The planned decommissioning of several Eskom power stations will also factor into the suggestion that nuclear energy be utilised, and this means that 5732MW will be decommissioned by 2030.

“This will increase to 11,017 MW by 2030,” Nersa said. “Post-2030, the expected further decommissioning of 24,100MW of coal power stations supports the need for additional capacity from cleaner energy technologies, including nuclear.”

South Africa currently has a single nuclear plant.

Following the closure of the period for the submission of written comments, NERSA will host public hearings through online platforms that will include live streaming in order to reach as many stakeholders as possible. Stakeholders are therefore requested to indicate, when they provide their written comments, their interest to make oral representation to the Energy Regulator at the public hearings that will follow in due course and will be duly communicated.

To read the full proposal, click here.