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Earthlife Africa slams nuclear 'pipe dream'

Dec 18 2014 09:06

Johannesburg - Earthlife Africa on Wednesday criticised government's plans to build new nuclear power stations, saying it is not being transparent and that large-scale energy infrastructure projects are not the solution to the energy crisis.

"Timing such a huge announcement just [as] many academics and NGOs close for the year is but further evidence that the nuclear procurement programme is not transparent," said energy policy officer Dominique Doyle.

Earlier, the presidency announced that the stage has been set to start the preparatory stage for the procurement process that would be undertaken in line with the country's legislation and policies.

This followed the signing of intergovernmental framework agreements with the United States, South Korea, Russia, France, and China.

Government has also, over the past two months, successfully concluded so-called nuclear vendor parade workshops with these same countries.

South Africa is planning to build 9 600 MW of nuclear power capacity.

Earthlife Africa said the content of the agreements between the different countries remained a mystery.

The organisation's senior programme manager Makoma Lekalakala said large-scale energy infrastructure projects are not the answer to supplying South Africans with a sustainable energy supply.

"Medupi [power station] has been plagued by problems since the start of construction... A nuclear build will cost much more for taxpayers and will take much longer than constructing another coal-fired power station."

Relying on nuclear to solve the energy crisis is a "pipe dream", she said.

Government is ignoring its updated energy policy recommendations which say that nuclear power should be delayed until 2025 - 2035, Lekalakala said.

The updated Integrated Resource Plan also advised that new large energy infrastructure developments should be avoided.

sa economy  |  energy  |  sa nuclear deal


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