Despite Eskom receiving the go-ahead from the Department of Environmental Affairs to build a 4000 MW nuclear power station at Koeberg, South Africa simply cannot afford it said Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.
In an exclusive interview with City Press on Friday, Gigaba put the brakes on the country’s estimated R 1 trillion nuclear build programme, saying it is neither affordable nor currently necessary.
“There was a time when it was felt that nuclear is necessary and it must be implemented and programmes were started. But it became clear, as the economy took a serious dip, that the country couldn’t afford nuclear and the budget couldn’t afford it,” he said.
“It is quite clear that, at present, we can meet our electricity needs and we can even meet them into the future, given the excess electricity that we have.”
The Record of Decision granting permission to build a nuclear power station at Koeberg took many by surprize, as Thyspunt was Eskom’s preferred site.
The power utility has bought property worth millions of rands in the Oyster Bay area and the latest announcement by Gigaba creates doubt that a nuclear facility at Thyspunt will ever materialize.
The leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane has also spoken out against nuclear energy and said that power production in South Africa needs to be deregulated.
“We need to reject outright any further investment in nuclear, split Eskom into separate power production and distribution entities, and promote independent, decentralized power production from a diversity of sources,” said Maimane.