Nuclear power still part of the mix

The South African government has ended the bidding process for a second nuclear programme because of the price tag. However, the decision does not mean an abandonment of nuclear energy – the government has indicated that it will likely revisit the option in four to five years, when Eskom’s R343bn recapitalisation programme should be gaining momentum. Portia Molefe, director-general of the public enterprises department, and senior minerals and energy department officials confirmed the government’s commitment to investing in alternatives to coal-based power.

  • The government had been looking for a nuclear technology partner and was in negotiations with Areva and Westinghouse.

  • In “Nuclear gamble” published in opinion and analysis, Business Day points out that the speculated R120bn price tag for a second nuclear programme is approximately twice the cost of constructing a coal-fired power station.

  • The same opinion piece says that a second nuclear power plant would contribute 3,300 MW to Eskom’s goal of expanding capacity by 40,000 MW in the next 20 years – illustrating the need for investment in energy production.

    Source: Siseko Njobeni, Nuclear power still part of the mix, Business Day, December 8, 2008.

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    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 09 December 2008
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