Minister Mantashe wants to build nuclear power stations

The National Energy Regulator (NERSA) has issued a call for public comment on the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy’s draft plan to go ahead with building 2 500 MW of new nuclear power.

OUTA opposes new nuclear power as unaffordable and inappropriate for South Africa, particularly in the light of the advances in renewable energy, backed up with flexible generation and energy storage, and will make a submission on this.

OUTA is watching the new nuclear build process unfold with great concern.

NERSA is considering the draft determination by the minister. In terms of the law, the minister issues the draft determination in terms of section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act to NERSA for its agreement or “concurrence”. NERSA must conduct a public consultation process before deciding whether to concur with the determination.

The government’s last attempt to build nuclear power ended in April 2017 when civil society won a court order overturning the then minister’s illegal decision on this.

At that stage, Thyspunt, near St Francis Bay was the preferred site to construct a new nuclear power station.

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Residents objected strongly against Thyspunt at the time, saying that the EIA process was flawed and issues like incorrect wind directions, impact of squid spawning grounds and the destruction of the lifestyle of St Francis Bay were not properly investigated.

These are the documents:

• The NERSA invitation to comment is here.

• The Minister’s draft section 34 determination is here.
• The NERSA consultation paper is here.

• The Integrated Resource Plan 2019 is here.

The deadline for public comment is 5 February 2021.

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