Chernobyl, Fukushima and we can add a few more …. These disasters still not enough to deter the South African government from turning to nuclear as an energy supply by 2030. (Read Peter Diamandis – why investing in nuclear is a very, very bad idea) And with an expected 9,600 MW, the process is underway. With 6 nuclear power plants on the cards, government is considering using reactors from 2 Russian-based companies – Rosatom and Westinghouse. Which brings up another concern – as the West looks to wage further sanctions against the Kremlin – will this relationship bring about any trade implications on South Africa? – Stuart Lowman
By Wendell Roelf
Africa’s most developed economy aims to build six new nuclear power plants by 2030 at an estimated cost of between R400 billion to R1 trillion ($33 billion to $82 billion).
Kelvin Kemm, a member of a government panel advising the energy minister on the nuclear procurement, recommended Rosatam’s VVER and Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactors. Westinghouse is owned by Japan’s Toshiba.
“Our collective opinion, as nuclear specialists in the country, is that those two reactors are very good for South Africa and we are advising government to look at them,” Kemm, CEO at Nuclear Africa, told Reuters in Cape Town.
Rosatom’s VVER and Westinghouse’s models are pressurized water reactors similar to Koeberg, Africa’s only nuclear plant, which generates 1,800 MW using an Areva reactor.
“Whether we use our cooling systems for the steam, there are a number of things South Africans are perfectly capable of adding to that basic structure. So we won’t buy that thing absolutely as is off the shelf,” Kemm said.
The government also plans to re-establish its uranium enrichment and conversion facilities, which were dismantled during the apartheid era when South Africa developed and later destroyed its nuclear bomb capability.
South Africa has some of the world’s largest uranium deposits and the new nuclear fleet is likely to use 465 metric tonnes of enriched uranium a year by 2030, officials have said.
Construction is likely to begin next year on the first nuclear plant at Thyspunt near Jeffrey’s Bay on the east coast, with the initial power generation from the new nuclear fleet generated in 2023, government officials have said.