8 November 2012

South Africa: Phased Decision Making Model for Nuclear Build Approved

Pretoria — Cabinet has endorsed the proposed phased decision making approach for the implementation of South Africa's nuclear build with Eskom involved in proceedings, Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane said on Thursday.

Briefing reporters following Cabinet's fortnightly meeting, Chabane said Cabinet had been briefed on the first meeting of the National Nuclear Energy Executive Coordination Committee (NNEECC) chaired by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

The committee oversees any future nuclear procurement process as well as the build programmes.

"Cabinet endorsed the proposed phased decision making approach for implementation of the nuclear programme," said Chabane.

The country's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-2030 states the country's intention to add 9 600 megawatts of nuclear energy to the country's energy mix by 2030. The IRP is South Africa's 20-year plan towards the balancing of the production of electricity and consumption.

The IRP makes for the provision of renewable power in the country's energy mix.

On Thursday, Cabinet said it had endorsed the designation of Eskom as the owner-operator as per the Nuclear Energy Policy of 2008.

"Eskom has been appointed a long time ago in 2008. What Cabinet did is it reiterated that position. Eskom is the principal operator of our electricity grid. We now have IPPs [Independent Power Producers] in place. The same principal is going to apply on the nuclear. We need an institution which is going to be the custodian of all the knowledge and the technology which the state is going to host as a result of the process," said Chabane.

On Monday, Eskom welcomed the participation of IPPs in the country's mix. This as the Energy Department signed implementation agreements and direct agreements with 28 preferred bidders in the first window of its Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) and Eskom signed power purchase agreements with the bidders.

The cost estimates for the nuclear build is not yet known.

Nuclear stakeholders like the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA, Eskom, National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), and key government departments, including Energy and Public Enterprise are part of the NNEECC.

Additionally, Cabinet also approved the reviewed National Energy Efficiency Strategy (NEES) and approved the gazetting of the draft NEES second review document for public comment.

The review process analysed energy usage patterns of businesses in various sectors of the economy. It further looked at the potential for adopting modern energy management practices and technologies, based on advice and views from international experts. It further set the scene for future energy reduction targets and the use of energy.

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