Despite public outrage at the secretive procurement agreements signed by Energy Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the government is forging ahead with its 9 600MW nuclear plans.
The government’s focus on nuclear power is out of sync with its own policy recommendations. In an effort to validate procuring 9 600 MW, the Department of Energy is relying on an old version of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which was published in 2010 and included nuclear power in the future energy mix.
However, an updated version of the IRP was published in 2013. The updated version advised that nuclear power should be delayed until 2025-35 due to a stagnating energy demand.
The updated IRP further advised that new large energy infrastructure development projects be avoided. The National Planning Commission (NPC) also supports that the decision on nuclear power be delayed by as far as the year 2040.
The NPC has made this recommendation according to the results of an energy modelling exercise it commissioned from the Energy Research Centre at the University of Cape Town.
Earthlife Africa Johannesburg senior programme manager, Makoma Lekalakala, further states that, “Besides the astounding lack of public engagement, the government is actually ignoring its own technical advice.
These illogical actions reveal aspirations that are not entirely based on the need to keep the lights on.
The current load shedding is providing fodder to the myth that nuclear energy is the answer to South Africa’s energy crisis.”