Six nuclear power stations planned

Six nuclear power stations planned

2010-09-08 07:57

Johannesburg - South Africa could get up to six new nuclear power stations.

At an Investec Power Summit in Sandton on Tuesday, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said that the development of a fleet of five or six new nuclear power stations in South Africa could lead to 70 000 new jobs.

Peters said the possibility of South Africa investing in more nuclear power stations formed part of government's debate over the country's future power supply.

However, an ambitious plan such as this would require many more nuclear energy experts than this country currently has. South Africa therefore needs to train more nuclear engineers.

Nuclear power is a growing global industry, and South Africa must therefore compete with the rest of the world for nuclear expertise.
The country will also have to develop a nuclear-energy support industry.

Fortunately, she said, skills developed in the pebble-bed nuclear reactor programme can be harnessed.

She said that a series of nuclear power stations would be more cost-effective than a single one. It costs three times more to build a nuclear power station than a coal-fired plant of the same size.

Medupi, which will produce 4 800MW, will cost R125bn.

Peters said the availability of uranium in South Africa is a big advantage.

SA just haS to be able to convert this mineral locally into a form that can be used, rather than exporting it and then re-importing the final product, she said.

EDF South Africa MD Frederic Diore said government should not exclude Eskom with regard to nuclear power.

Government is talking about a new, independent entity that will see to nuclear power. But Eskom has had 30 years’ experience in the field and it would be wrong to simply toss aside this experience, he said.

Meanwhile Yousuf Haffajee, the head of Eskom’s new power purchasing division – which will buy electricity from independent power providers – said on Tuesday that Eskom was planning to start a selection process for renewable energy projects in October or November.

These projects will form part of government’s aim of adding 1 025MW of renewable energy to the network by 2013.


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  • W - 2010-09-08 08:08

    That's great news, I'm all for nuclear power.

  • MARS - 2010-09-08 08:11

    The first good news in a long time!

  • Nick - 2010-09-08 08:12

    I read yesterday that they can't even pay back the interest on their loan. How on earth are they going to build not one, but SIX nuclear power stations?

  • Johnathan - 2010-09-08 08:14

    "Fortunately, she said, skills developed in the pebble-bed nuclear reactor programme can be harnessed." YEAH RIGHT. What was your speechwriter smoking, honourable minister? Those people have LEFT THE COUNTRY to find work in their fields - taking their expertise with them. Mark my words, we will be buying modular reactors from the USA, France or China quite soon - designed in those countries using expertise from people called Van der Merwe and Dlamini...

  • stu - 2010-09-08 08:15

    so much can be harnessed from this well done copy what frnace an germany have done and used of raw material

  • Sparky - 2010-09-08 08:17

    Ah. So first the news that they're unable to pay the interest off of their loans. now this massive expansion program. Where's the money going to come from? More increases? Surely!

  • Ntombi - 2010-09-08 08:23


  • Russel Wolson - 2010-09-08 08:26

    Unfortunately nuclear power is the only option left to us due to global warming. Coal fired power stations are just too messy. Lets do it sooner rather than later.

  • SA Citizens - 2010-09-08 08:28

    For who jobs, foreigners!!! Jobs should be strictly for SA Citizens,Period....

  • zanwe - 2010-09-08 08:33

    and where will the billions for this come from? we are already paying about 150% more for elec prices which is way too expensive for the avg house

  • Solo - 2010-09-08 08:34

    What an absolutre joke, they cannot even complete the projects they currently planned!

  • tebo - 2010-09-08 08:41

    who's going to finance the projects and how? hope the already strained and dwindling tax base is spared from this.

  • Judith - 2010-09-08 08:47

    SO she is happy to see a vast increase in cancers amongst the population and advance backwards into heavily polluting and extremely expensive nuclear power! Truly renewable power will create 700 000 jobs and advance SA into the future whilst developing new skills and technologies

  • jannie - 2010-09-08 08:48

    We have the plan, now what? Maybe they should look internationally how other things are done as well, except for nuclear power technology. Maybe Julius Malema will have the answers. If you are half dead and it happens twice, what then? This should keep them busy for a while.

  • Joe Hero - 2010-09-08 08:49

    It is absolutely ridiculous to think that in our day and age they still consider Nuclear Power as a viable energy source... We live in a country that is rich in natural resources to use wind, water and solar energy but idiots that run this country are gripped by the short and curlies by Globalists that will have their way!

  • skywalker - 2010-09-08 08:58

    Chernobyl here we come..!

  • toallatEPC/JHB - 2010-09-08 09:03

    WOW, good news indeed; the costs of the build will more than be covered by the tax income for the stations generating for 60 years; do the math based on the Parliament records of the UK held on HANSARD; a public record of our democracy for all to see; this is really good news for SA; veels geluk and uhuru for SA from an Englesman

  • Zorro - 2010-09-08 09:05

    Well if this idiotic ANC led government didnt sell the Pelindaba Urianium Enrichment facility to the Chinese and pocket the proceeds we wouldnt be sitting in this situation would we...

  • gnplk - 2010-09-08 09:07

    Nuclear power, GREAT news. 1 Problem; Eskom can't even repay their current debt, how are they going to pay for this? What about the virtually dormant nuclear plant outside Pretoria? Why not use that? Oh yes, it came from apartheid and because of that, isn't used. IDIOTS!!!

  • deon - 2010-09-08 09:09

    My dear minister, wake up, your tea is cold. Most former PBMR scientists and engineers are already in Australia, the UK and the USA.

  • Johnathan - 2010-09-08 09:10

    Don't get me wrong - building nuclear power stations is a much better idea than building more coal-fired power stations. Unfortunately, we have seen these kinds of promises before - lets just hope that the government puts them into action sooner rather than later!

  • Pdv - 2010-09-08 09:11

    ...and in related news, Santa Clause is coming to town, creating even more jobs in the "I just thought up something random" sector. These people are getting paid an incredible amount of money to spew this BS.

  • Renee - 2010-09-08 09:13

    China...will pay for the whole development and will get paid in resources!

  • Earth - 2010-09-08 09:14

    Why nuclear power...because it's easy to hide a lot of backpocketting. They are all wondering how much of that 125bn (which we know will end up being 900bn) will be in their pockets. Go green I say...If your solar equipment on your house will amount to R200 000 then you will see that your house will increase considerably in market value, maybe even more than the initial cost of the solar panels. I never thought I'd say this, but if ESKOM is going green then I will be supporting them, and not this nuclear initiative. Where are they going to build these power bombs. Without proper control these stations will indeed be another chernobyl...and we all know that South Africa will now never have the proper expertise.

  • sans - 2010-09-08 09:14

    How are you going to take reactors from US and Canada if they stopped building them and do not have enough experience and a huge shortage of researchers for it? Only if SA wants to be their experimental yard for it China...hmmm- I would not trust- they are simple copying what they see. Only Russia and Germany+France have a full circle of researcher and workers in nuclear industry

  • Logic - 2010-09-08 09:18

    Nuclear power is the most complicated way to boil water. The sun and the hot earth beneath us are much better options and policy makers must wake up to this obvious fact.

  • Radiation - 2010-09-08 09:20

    Eskom have people in N Korea talking about how soon the N Koreans can build us a nuke plant and how much kickback various parties will get.

  • mike - 2010-09-08 09:23

    This makes absolutely no sense: what do we use for money, IDIOT !!!

  • Mike - 2010-09-08 09:24

    Logic is sound, nuclear is a better option to coal. Alternative energy - wind, solar, etc would be 1st prize, but viability on a large MW scale is a challenge. Going nuclear, the whole process needs to be planned and managed properly, with credible environmental impact studies, etc

  • Henry - 2010-09-08 09:25

    Didn't they say these would be Russian power stations. Like Chernobyl? Wouldn't the French stations be much safer? Are we going to have a fleet of substandard, dangerous polluters populating our coast. Oh dear. I'm for nuclear energy, but not communist style nuclear energy.

  • Blu - 2010-09-08 09:26

    they have been singing this "Nuclear Power" song for so long and nothing has happened yet. @SA Citizen the Government will just give the jobs to their incompetent cronies. & Maybe if South Africans had better work ethics they would get better jobs. All they want is money for sitting on their fat asses and doing NOTHING.

  • kwailoh88 - 2010-09-08 09:27

    I wonder what Peters smoked before she made this statement- some of that green stuff from the flats no doubt! 6 - my gawd - I don't think she has any idea what it entails. The only realistic bit is about the valuable skills left from the Pebble Bed research and that would be "DONT GO THERE" After how many years and billion Rand - it turned out empty - One of the reasons they are in the dwang with finances. The newspapers should follow up on that project and tell the public what a waste it was

  • Ima - 2010-09-08 09:32

    Wasnt it only a year or two ago that Eskom turned down nuclear power in favour of coal because nucler was so much more expensive? Now they want to build 5 or 6?

  • FOTA - 2010-09-08 09:34

    We have no HR capacity to deliver, finish and klaar. The only experts still in SA are French and German contractors earning 400% of what our locals did before they left.Our locals are good only for leaving bolts lying around. PBMR = disaster. New nuclear plan, with all it's promises of new jobs = disaster. We will pay till we bleed through the ears and NOTHING will come of it. Quadruple the subsidy for domestic solar, make is a LAW that every new building has to have solar heating, drop our peak demand by 30% - no nuclear reactors needed. Simple.

  • Brasco - 2010-09-08 09:40

    At current prices , it is far cheaper to buy a generator and supply your own electricity . Just switch off the escom supply . Now after the 300 % increases needed for these ambitious power projects , it will become even more viable to supply your own power . Think people !!!

  • alan - 2010-09-08 09:45

    It has taken 16 years for the ANC government to wake up and actually start planning about more than the next expensive car they are going to buy. Trouble is, this power-plant planning should have started when the ANC took power, not now when Eskom is so cash-strapped they can't even afford INTEREST payments, and SA consumers are already being bled to the bone. But this kind of planning is also desperately needed in terms of future water supplies, training of 3.5 million unemployed Black youths, dealing with acid water on the Reef, ensuring ongoing sanitation facilities etc etc. The ANC loves endless legotlas - talk-fests - in 5-star hotels that produce virtually no results. When are we going to get intelligent planners and facilitators into power?

  • Kagiso - 2010-09-08 09:46

    Johnathan is right, They could not finish the final stage of PBMR (which was construction), how on earth are they gonna afford to build six power nuc power station? Even if they do, it not gonna be the same. Engineers will be expected to just keep on the power station running which is easy if you've got the manual whereas with PBMR, "SA" engineers would have learned lot about the design of the plant.

  • Sceptic - 2010-09-08 09:50

    Does this mean SA will become an 'axis of evil'? The west doesn't seem to like countries that want to refine their own oil or enrich their own Uranium. Couple that with the 'revolution' and you get all types of interesting potential scenarios.

  • Sparky - 2010-09-08 09:51

    Yet another bag of rats: why did they recently abandon the recognised modular pebble bed program? It is widely published that this is (was) the most mature (by a huge amount) next-generation reactor system. Here's a thought - the French can pay better bribes than the locals possibly could!

  • Nasdaq7 - 2010-09-08 09:53

    We have uranium and we are running out of coal to export and the environment is suffering under coal plants. Nuclear is a good option.

  • Gollum - 2010-09-08 10:00

    I guess it will be built by foreign experts, run by foreigners and poorly and dangerously maintained by locals. The “30 years of experience” probably resides abroad. Also, it will have to be funded through foreign investment and the debt will be paid by the handful of SA taxpayers who also pay for the high tariffs. Don’t forget the scope creep and other ill effects on these projects due to corruption which seems to be standard practice these days. Thus, a budget of 125Bn may be double upon completion and the same for the time span to completion. Nuclear may be the answer, but will it really be safe and doable in a third world country?

  • Annon - 2010-09-08 10:02

    Great news but to respond to Johnathan. The Power plant itself will have to come from France, Russia, USA, China or Korea as they already have the technology and for SA to design from scratch would not be viable as it will take far too long as we need power now. A lot of the Pebble Bed guys are still around and there are guys being trained to be Nuclear Engineers, so all is not lost. Nuclear is the only way to go at this stage. It may cost more to build but long term it is cheaper to produce power from Nuclear than it is from coal and it is the cleanest way of producing electricity, even cleaner than wind power.

  • Rob - 2010-09-08 10:08

    For all you people moaning about the electricity price increases, know this: Eskom are forbidden from making a profit by law (dating back to 1923 or something) Eskom were forbidden by government from building power stations when the needed to- about 12 years ago, because government wanted external investors to do it, but they never found any. Therefore, your electricity increases were artificially low (well below inflation for over 10 years)and the price was too cheap. The big increases now are nothing more than a correction to what we should have been paying. If it's too expensive, use less, or earn more.

  • Morgan - 2010-09-08 10:10

    "SA just haS to be able to convert this mineral locally into a form that can be used, rather than exporting it and then re-importing the final product, she said." If we could apply the above mentioned to our coal exports that we re-import at a HUGE loss just to send to refineries to turn into petrol. This could also be a great source of job creation for SAers.

  • Kakade - 2010-09-08 10:15

    Now is that before, or after the Chinese high-speed rail from Durban to Gauteng? I think these wild statements just prove the lack of planning and co-ordination in government. Who is going to pay for all these grandiose plans, given our shrinking tax base?

  • Great - 2010-09-08 10:17

    Go read some research, global warming doesn't exist as you know it. But nuclear is definitely a cleaner, more efficient energy, and I'm very excited by this. The only problem is that the government has chased away all the skills from the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor program by cutting its funding. So we'll have to start building skills from scratch. Once again we see how short-sighted this ANC government is. If they'd done some proper investigation and thinking, we could have avoided wasting all the money we have so far in getting the new coal-fired stations 10% done!

  • Sharp - 2010-09-08 10:19

    After the energy crisis, the huge tariff's increases, the decision to build two new massive coal-fired power stations (against all the trends and wisdom prevalent in the scientific community), this "annoucement" shows again clearly that the ANC is incapable of managing our country and its economy. In fact, the state of its structure is proof that it can't even manage its own businesses, let alone a nation! Voters, wake-up!

  • Enoch - 2010-09-08 10:23

    Eish! The Durban Poison in Sandton is phenomenal. The Minister must be where the prices of electricity are going to be very shortly.

  • Kenneth - 2010-09-08 10:23

    You say what about foreigners??They are the only one's that work in this country. Look at all the car guards, garden boys and labourers in this country. They are mostly from countries like the Congo, Zim and the rest of Africa. They are the ones who are willing to stand in the road until 2 o'clock in the morning to look after YOUR car just for R5. No South African is willing to do there job and that is why the can find those jobs. I think this is an excellent plan by Eskom but they haven't done there homework correctly, this is alot of money which is simply not available. But non the less I love my country SA and I will finish my studies here and stay no matter what the state of the country and no matter how much they charge for electricity.

  • Wonder - 2010-09-08 10:26

    Johnathan I agee with you. The minister's speechwriter did indeed smoke something. Where will the government get money from. The PBMR project failed because of funding. Mr speechwriter wake up!

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