SA to build new nuclear power plants

2011-09-15 14:52

Johannesburg - Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Thursday she had signed off on a proposal for new nuclear power plants which will go to the cabinet soon.

Peters also told reporters on the sidelines of an African energy ministers' conference that she expects the cabinet to decide on the plan by the end of this year and the bidding process to start early in 2012.

The minister said she expected the first power from those plants, which are slated to provide 9,600 megawatts of power (MW) or about a quarter of the current supply, to start flowing through the national grid in 2024 or 2025.

Previous plans had called for additional nuclear generation by 2023 but Peters said that had been put off a year or two because of revisions in the wake of Japan's power plant disaster earlier this year.

But she said there was no risk of blackouts to Africa's largest economy because of an accelerated renewable energy programme.

Over 90% of South Africa's power comes from coal and supplies are tight as state-run utility Eskom battles to meet fast-rising demand. The country currently has just one nuclear power plant near Cape Town.

A power supply crisis in 2008 shut mines for days in the world's top platinum producer and cost the country billions in lost output.

New coal-fired plants are also being built and power tariffs are rising steeply to fund such projects, hurting consumers and squeezing the profits of power-intensive mines and other industries.

  • CaptainK - 2011-09-15 15:02

    Ya, its a pity there's not more money to be made from fraud out of going for renewable energy sources like wind, wave and sun. At least that way we would get something new and cutting edge that does something to protect the environment. But our government, bless them they are doing such a wonderful job, will go for an option that leaves more money available to line a few pockets. The ANC-way sickens me!

  • Nasdaq7 - 2011-09-15 15:03

    That's good it is the strongest and most affordable option.

  • I Like Everything - 2011-09-15 15:09

    I like this. I think nuclear energy is the way forward

  • Brian - 2011-09-15 15:13

    Say no to nuclear energy. Yes I know the logistics of the statement are unfeasible but dammit. We have the whole sunny Karoo. Invest in our green future.

  • K-NINE - 2011-09-15 15:16

    Hmmm - I can already see the frenzy rubbing together of hands and drooling over the tender processes to follow. Zumas and Malemas first in the queue!!

  • Riley786 - 2011-09-15 15:24

    Minister Peters I commend you for signing off on this project. The Eastern Cape need serious projects such as the Nuclear power plant at Thuyspunt, PetroSA refinery and CCGT at Coega IDZ which will change the face of P.E and the Eastern Cape region forever.The news is most welcome as the Eastern Cape of who's 70% of the population live below the breadline with huge unemployment and ailing infrastructure.You get my vote well done.

  • baudtin1 - 2011-09-15 15:24

    eventually some logic out of the anc....

  • Blougroen - 2011-09-15 15:30

    Now imagine the ANCYL has its way and racial wars erupt in the country - would we be able to continue managing these nuclear power stations to prevent melt-downs and radio active leakages . . . . . .

  • Jeremy - 2011-09-15 15:44

    That is terrible news, Please get her to inform everybody how the Nuclear Waste will be disposed of.

  • ZAF Mike - 2011-09-15 15:45

    FARKWIT.... Never heard of wind farms? With ESKOM as screwed up as it is. Does he really think nuclear is the way to go?

  • Wolfking - 2011-09-15 15:47


  • IC1 - 2011-09-15 15:50

    Please just build it so that it has every conceivable base covered, lets not have another Chernobyl or Japan situation

  • africanwolf - 2011-09-15 15:59

    Now I know why Electricity become so expensive it is someone's business

  • TMan - 2011-09-15 16:02

    I wonder if they going to up electricty costs to make tax payers pay for the power plants, like they are trying to do with the e-tolling on highways?

  • goldenmart - 2011-09-15 16:03

    Expect a price hike on electricity in 10 9 8 7 ........

      Ryan - 2011-09-15 17:14


  • dragonben - 2011-09-15 16:03

    About time, most of our borders are coastlines = Vast amounts of water for cooling = cheap, save power.

  • Marie - 2011-09-15 16:04

    These plants will be old ones from France, they are not allowed to build them there anymore. Instead of focussing on Malema's rantings people should be very worried about this news item. I am packing my bags if people of low intellect, no schooling and no clue will be in charge of a dangerous facility such as a nuclear plant.

      MxT - 2011-09-15 21:50

      Rubbish - In fact Germany's solution to it's phasing out of nuclear power plants is to buy more(nuclear generated) power from France. Check your facts Mars.

      PSquare - 2011-09-15 22:16

      The same people that are in charge of Koeberg?

  • Judith - 2011-09-15 16:05

    So destruction of jobs will now follow, as well as profitable enterprises being destroyed so we can have plants that we cannot afford and which will never deliver. Finland's plant is well over budget and way late. Promised jobs for the Finns have been taken by Polish labour. I wonder who will take the jobs in SA? Chinese? Farewell to the Cape biosphere which generates tourism and to the calamari industry in the Eastern Cape that generates R200 000 in export income and has 20 000 jobs. The Nuclear plants generate 70 jobs if you're lucky.

      Fanie - 2011-09-15 23:29

      ...not worth my breath to comment

      Bullhunter - 2011-09-16 02:34

      R200 000 in export income?Shut this useless industry down!NOW!

  • proudly - 2011-09-15 16:12

    Just hope they dont try the BEE on them! Then 'goodbye' everybody!

  • Aleg - 2011-09-15 16:15

    Why don't they invest in more Solar or wind energy?

      Succubus - 2011-09-15 17:52

      Because nuclear is safer and cleaner than both Solar and Wind. Wind power farms that produce the same quantity of electricity as single nuclear facilities impose to great an impact on the environment. Currently nuclear is slightly cheaper than solar, relative to the cost of production and maintenance vs power output. Solar power plants on scales comparable to single nuclear facilities also poses a greater net negative impact on the environment when taking into account construction, and maintenance of solar power plants, vs the construction, maintenance and waste storage of nuclear plants. Nuclear plants also currently to date offer the safest kind of plants, with the lowest rate of both death and secondary health related issues, and the statistics include all of the deaths and secondary health related effects of both chernobyl and Fukushima togeather. Nuclear power also imposes the lowest impact on the environment, both in terms of carbon emission, but also interms of the amount of land used up for both the plants and there waist storage. Teh land area foot print of nuclear power on earth, including all contaminated and unlivable land in and around both chernobyl and Fukushima, is less than the land foot print of all current solar and wind farms on earth today.

      Succubus - 2011-09-15 18:01

      As a point of interest, wind farms are approximatively 3 times more deadly to humans than nuclear power plants, as 3 times as many people have been killed by wind farms than nuclear plant disasters. More animals and birds have been killed by wind farms than have been killed by Chernobyl. More animals have suffered indirect health related issues as a result of both solar and wind farms together, than animals actually living in the dead zone of the Chernobyl disaster. All animals who have died as a result of Fukushima, dies due to malnourished caused because there owners were prevented from retrieving them in the weeks flowing the earth quake and subsequent Fukushima melt downs. So far, no animals, including those who lived right next to the Fukushima facility have shown signs of radiation related health issues. Since the earth quake in Japan, more animals have been killed by wind farms than have been killed even indirectly through malnutrition associated with Japanese owners being prevented from retrieving their pets due to paranoid government policy, driven by hippies, who are inadvertently responsible for more damage to the environment through their pathetic tree hugging ignorance and stupidity, than the industries who they think they are protecting the environment from. I don't know if you can tell, but I really hate hippies!

      Succubus - 2011-09-15 18:08

      Nuclear is cleaner and safer. Nuclear is also slightly cheaper than solar. Most importantly though, nuclear power plants and their waist managment impose less of a net negative impact on the environment than all other kinds of power plants. And this includes all of the environmental damage and related human and animal deaths and indirect health related issues associated with both chernobyl and Fukushima. Wind farms are particularly harmful to the environment, and about 3 times more dangerous than nuclear plants in terms of human fatalities to date, including all deaths directly and indirectly related to chernobyl.

      Harvey - 2011-09-15 19:08

      There is no cost-effective means of storing electricity. The big problem is the peak capacity. The wind does not blow at six o'clock every evening (except in PE) and the sun, well she is gone by then. The only two viable options available to us are Coal or Nuclear. Coal is much more damaging to the environment.

      Jerry - 2011-09-15 23:14

      HA HA Succubus has a great imagination! How did solar & wind power kill all these animals/people (maybe sunburn ;-0) And bear in mind that 75% of all quoted statistics are made up!

      MxT - 2011-09-16 08:41

      Jerry Jerry Jerry. Drop the sarcasm and read this: and then Google "wind farms and migrating birds" You might find your comments embarrassing.

      Chuck - 2011-09-16 09:46

      Are you out of your minds, that is because that 100 years plus of radiation waste is negated in the calculations or the nuclear spill that went into the ocean from Japan can not be calculated and therefor NOT included in the sums( out of mind - out of sight). Were is the drive to be more efficient with electricity and the creation to be decentralized. Allow public or companies to feed back - that will remove the current strain. Open up the feed from Congo Hydro plants etc rather than South Africa trying to manufacture electricity to export to countries above and make the SA citizens pay for that expansion. If it is so important to us for production STOP exporting but no this is because of massive profit potential as our production is on a nose dive.

  • Daveza - 2011-09-15 16:20


  • Mike - 2011-09-15 16:20

    WTF nuclear power plants, can you imagine zuma,s brother’s baby by his 4th wife’s 2 son will get the contract ,,,, Eish!

  • Reasonable - 2011-09-15 16:29

    Ai - the whole 10 Billion spent on the Pebblebed reactor project that has already been stopped jumps to mind....

  • clivegoss - 2011-09-15 16:31

    It is about bloody time. Now if you really take job creation seriously where in the hell are the pebble beds? You put these down on the West Coast 1.) You turn sea water into fresh. 2.) You take all the coal we produce and you make petrol diesel oil and the waste is fertilizer. ( Ask Louis Luyt) 3.) You have cost effective electicity Affordable Fuel and fertilizer for agriculture and AND you then have enough ariable land for the jobless to farm for their own account. What is your problem?

      Southern - 2011-09-16 07:49

      Bloody well. Nobody has thought about it before. Pebble bed must be the future. Can even make fresh water. And 14 people like it. It is a bit more complicated than that. I actually requires a sophisticated society where people put their rubbish into a bin that it can be collected, sorted and maybe re-used. Here they do not even have bins.

  • Samantha - 2011-09-15 16:35

    First try and maintain the ones you already have! IDIOTS!

  • Ndlovu - 2011-09-15 16:50

    Havn't they seen wats ongoing worldwide??? A country with that much solar power can easy produce more than needet electricity from the nature!

      James Weather - 2011-09-15 17:14

      No more Nuclear Power plants ..... !!!! SA government cant run a school properly, never mind a nuclear power plant. Just ONE mistake and half the Western Cape is unliveable for 100's of years ... Bad idea!!!

      Alo - 2011-09-15 17:15

      No it can't, do some research and understand the limitations of solar power

      Expat - 2011-09-15 17:55

      SA typical backward thinking banana republic. In the civilised world they have realised the mistake of nuclear power and are doing what they can to shut the existing plants down and what does SA do? build nuclear power plants, what a joke. Also, looking at how things are managed in SA in general of late I literally shudder to think what would happen should power plants be equally mis-managed

      Zion - 2011-09-15 18:10

      Ndlovu, So much has been said about solar energy but when it comes to cost comparisons then all are mum. What I am simply asking is: What is the cost to generate say 10KW of energy from coal, Nuclear fuel, or other methods and compare it to solar energy for the same output.

      piet.strydom - 2011-09-15 18:10

      No Ndlovu, it cannot. Solar ill only satisfy a portion of the demand, and is not a reliable supply. E.g. to provide the USA with solar power, an area the size of Spain would need to be covered with solar panels....

  • rumsour - 2011-09-15 16:56

    This is a truly bad idea. Create small scale power plants using wind and solar this would increase the number of employed, increase the skill set which would make people more employable, reduce the burden on the state to provide grants to people, further this is a system which will have a positive effect of bring electrical power to rural areas of the country without the financial and environmental cost of running power cables to remote areas of the country. In urban areas allow people who invest in solar(photovoltaic) panels to sell the power to Eskom.

  • Ryan - 2011-09-15 17:12

    SA gets 90 % from burning coal. well its good that the government isnt going to choke the population with more coal pollution, but how about clean energy ??????? i have heard that wind, solar and water "farms" are viable for SA

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-09-15 17:52

    Renewe-able sources Peters!? But I guess,some comrade needs a tender! Comrade employment? Run people! The can not even built roads!

  • Sharkie - 2011-09-15 17:54

    By 2024? And in that time demand will tripple - wow! thats really sorting the problem out huh? Mothballing the ol ones back in 1994 wasn;t so smart ne - but hey just to save a few bucks for your parties - just like the hospitals.

  • Sharkie - 2011-09-15 17:55

    Is Malema's company getting this tender? Chenolyl.......all I'm saying.....

      Harvey - 2011-09-15 23:33

      Sharkie, it's not like its rocket science. It looks pretty easy on the Simpsons.

      t1mothybeaton - 2011-09-16 05:56

      it was actually Chernobyl in the Ukraine dude. In your post below u mention mothball nuclear power plants? Talking about the pebble bed reactor? well that was not in 1994 and its dead because it was never going to work. our hatred is going to kill you if your dumbness is not going to do it first

      Harvey - 2011-09-16 10:19

      T1mothy, if you want to get pedantic, it was the USSR, which included Russia and Ukraine. To use the term Russia, in those days, would have been aceptable. When someone uses the term "Mothball" it means to shelve, or delay a project. Its not a type of Reactor.

  • Zion - 2011-09-15 18:04

    Why are the correct terms never used when expressing high values? 9600MW is 9,6 giga watts (GW)

      Fanie - 2011-09-15 23:27

      Hi Zion dunno - wonder what git gave you the thumbs down

  • george60 - 2011-09-15 18:10

    Chill, it will be running on cow dung.

  • John - 2011-09-15 19:52

    Not a single comment suggests awareness of thorium. Think of it as uranium without the horror. E=mc2 vs E=mv2 says that nuclear-generated electricity is going to trump sun, wind, water, sea currents, whatever. c2 in the first is so large that m in the second must be unrealistically large (since v is, say, 100) to give the same E. See Go to energyfromthorium dot com or flibe-energy dot com for full information or spend 10 minutes on this: SA needs nuclear plants to generate electricity - thorium plants, not uranium plants.

      Roman Moroni - 2011-09-16 04:51

      Well said John. Fact is none of the other so-called "renewable" sources are viable with current technology. The only real "clean" energy source is nuclear.

  • Kuifie - 2011-09-15 20:23

    Start buying shares in uranium mines...

  • crackerr - 2011-09-15 20:30

    Please be reminded dear government that if you try to nationalize even the smallest plot of land in this country you will have to give the whole country up as surety to some emerging super power to pay for all this. You listening, Malema & co?

  • Jerry - 2011-09-15 22:45

    Its crazy. If a country like Germany has decided to phase out nuclear in favour of renewable energy, then you got to wonder why SA is so determined to expand its nuclear facilities. Nuclear is so last century. But then maybe the government is planning to be the first in Africa to have nuclear weapons....

      innasticks - 2011-09-16 08:37

      Firstly Jerry what a unbelievable infantile comment. As a growing economy we have to increase our GDP which increases work opportunities which stabilizes the political situation and benefits all of us socially i.e. health, nutrition etc. Renewable energy is expensive and insufficient at this point.

      MxT - 2011-09-16 09:04

      And Jerry, Germany's answer to their energy needs is to buy more (nuclear produced) electricity from France.

      Muffen Man - 2011-09-16 09:33

      "government is planning to be the first in Africa to have nuclear weapons", South Africa already built nuclear weapons decades ago! Also, renewable energy is far to expensive, nuclear power is the only alternative to coal at the moment that would be beneficial to the South African economy

      MxT - 2011-09-16 10:07

      Germany simply intends to buy more (nuclear produced) electricity from France as they phase out their nuclear power stations.

      Jeffrey - 2011-09-16 12:13

      You guys will have no idea what base load solar going to cost us. a family of 4 in Germany pays 5500 euros per year for electricity, now they are going to close the NPPs, this is going to increase to 10000 euros. From Nuclear Engineer in SA

  • Peter - 2011-09-16 05:20

    What a pity our government has not heard of 'green energy.'

  • WhiteAgent - 2011-09-16 08:12

    It's about time! Jesus, but it took long.

  • ANC-FTL - 2011-09-16 08:41

    It’s funny how government always do the opposite to what you would think.

  • Strider - 2011-09-16 08:43

    We should protest! There is NOTHING good that comes from nuclear fission reactors.

      Succubus - 2011-09-16 16:04

      Actually there is, and clean power. In fact, the safest and cleanest power that humans currently know how to produce.

  • Dom - 2011-09-16 08:54

    renewal energy is the only way forward - we should be making plans to close Koeberg before it deteriorates with age and improper maintenance. Nuclear energy has proven to be far too dangerous and it is just not worth it. Unfortunately, the politicians and middle men will be tempted by massive backhanders which they will accept shortsightedly and greedily.

      umlaut - 2011-09-16 13:40

      Yes Dom and with the massive backhanders they can afford to go and stay far away from the nuclear plants and if they explode they can can even afford to move overseas to safe areas and take their whole family and many wives with them.

  • MALALAPIPE - 2011-09-16 08:55

    I will not live anywhere near a BEE built nuclear bomb

      MALALAPIPE - 2011-09-16 08:57

      start digging bomb shelters for nuclear fall out

  • Dom - 2011-09-16 09:05

    Comments promoting nuclear power make me think that those commenting are actually trolls working for the nuclear industry. Disturbing. If you are a human being and want to see our species survive then surely you would not want to risk that with nuclear power? Safe is it Succubus? Sure, if the plants are unable to EVER leak radiation; are NEVER going to get hit by earthquakes, massive amounts of solar radiation, tsunamis, bombings; and of course are run, maintained and built to perfection. We are not perfect - not even the Japanese could run or maintain their plant properly; not to mention store their spent fuel rods. Fukushima is still going off and poisoning the water, ground and land. WAKE UP!

      Andy - Stinky - 2011-09-16 11:58

      Dom, We don't work for the nuclear industry, its just we've actually looked at the numbers and figures required. Firstly solar and wind cannot fulfil our requirements - there is no debate on this - do the numbers. Secondly - in order to move away from carbon (and radiation) spewing coal generation - nuclear is our only option (we have little gas). Thirdly - modern nuclear plants are safe. What gets me is that you're approaching this with an alarmist viewpoint - so what if all power was nuclear produced? - Worst case scenarios would mean 1 critical reactor at a time - so what?? How does that equate to the entire species dying off? Contrast this to global warming (coal burning) which may indeed mean our species dying off due to crop failures. Are you saying that all the reactors would go critical at once covering the world in a radiation cloud?????? Possibly you are mixing up atomic energy with atom bombs - 2 very different things? Wake up dom - your brain is calling.

  • Jacques - 2011-09-16 10:00

    Germany is moving away from nuclear power, and South Africa want to into it more!

  • ihatum - 2011-09-16 12:36

    Others are moving away from nuclear, south africa is still continuing?. Those things are dangerous and dirty!!

      Succubus - 2011-09-16 16:35

      Incorrect. Nuclear power is currently the safest and cleanest kind of power that humans know how to produce to date. I leave it to you to research the actual numbers for your self, but strongly recommend that you take a look when you have time. You will be surprised to learn that a single coal fired power plant does more environmental damage in 1 year of 'successful' operation than all of the environmental damage caused by both Chernobyl and Fukushima put together. And there 1000's of coal fired power plants on our planet. In the history of nuclear power, only 2 plants have had significant accidents that resulted in fatalities and a 'measurable' negative impact on the environment. All the other nuclear accidents resulted in no fatalities and negligible negative impact on the environment if any at all. The irony of it is, of all the fatalities caused by nuclear power plants, and out of all of the negative environmental impact nuclear power plants have inflicted on the earth to date, nuclear power remains the safest and cleanest method of producing power, by many orders of magnitude. Contrary to popular belief, wind power and solar power are neither safe nore clean. They are both safer and cleaner than coal fired power, but both wind power and solar power inflict heavy net negative impacts on the environment, many times more so than nuclear. And wind farms are in particular about 3.75 times more dangerous to humans than nuclear plants in terms of fatalities per TWh.

      detect - 2011-10-19 15:51

      @Succubus: Sure - just like SA was safer when the apartheid government was in power. If nuclear waste is so innocuous, how come we have to bury it underground in concrete blocks? Nuclear waste is dangerously radioactive, and remains so for thousands of years. And even though you can recycle the waste - what are the chances our SA govt will do that?

  • Bud - 2012-03-09 09:17

    Just a penny's worth! Instead of Eksdom Giving exorbitant increases to the CEO's etc and spending millions on staff parties - How about financing Solar Hotwater Cylinders & Solar /wind energy to the rural areas ie all towns,dorpe, etc with les than 5000 inhabitants at THEIR (Eskom's) expence - (Less strain on the grid) then again, less income for parties LMAO

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