Nuclear energy pivotal for sustainable energy supply

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Mineral Resources and Energy Deputy Minister, Dr Nobuhle Nkabane, says nuclear energy is a pivotal source of clean energy and energy security for the country.

The Deputy Minister was speaking at the nuclear technology imbizo in Cape Town on Wednesday.

“Our country needs all energy sources, working side by side to achieve energy security while we gradually transition to respond to climate change imperatives. To this end we need to extract maximum benefit from the full value chain of implementing energy projects within our country.

“It has been proven internationally that nuclear energy provides an electricity source that our country should extensively invest in, to produce large amounts of clean electricity and to address the scourge of energy poverty while delivering on various socio-economic benefits such as long-term employment and positive economic impact,” she said.

Currently, South Africa sources its nuclear energy from Eskom's Koeberg Power Station.

The power station provides some 1840MW of energy to the grid and government has previously announced it will procure a further 2500MW of nuclear energy for the constrained power station over the next few years.

The Deputy Minister highlighted that the pursuit of nuclear power is in line with government policy which aims to ensure energy security.

“It is important for me to reiterate Principle Number 3 of South Africa’s Nuclear Energy Policy, which states that ‘Nuclear Energy shall form part of South Africa’s strategy to mitigate climate change’. 

“Therefore, in line with this policy principle as we embark on the consultations for 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,” she said.

The country is “well endowed” in nuclear capability which, Dr Nkabane said, will play a critical role in the mitigation of climate change and assist the country to reach its decarbonisation targets.

“South Africa should include nuclear power and infrastructure as part of the Green Taxonomy to ensure nuclear is competitive and sustainable. The roles of nuclear power and renewables have been acknowledged in the fight against climate change.

“…There are demonstrated cases where some countries of the world are already in compliance with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change because of increasing the capacity of nuclear in their energy mix,” Dr Nkabane said. –