1 August 2013

South Africa: Department of Energy On the New Nuclear Build

press release

Noting recent media interest with regards to the new nuclear build programme issues, the Department of Energy wishes to place on record that the government of South Africa currently has a number of bilateral agreements on peaceful uses of nuclear energy with a number of countries across the globe.

In pursuit of these engagements, government will from time to time visit other countries as well as receive delegations from our international partners. Among other partners, South Africa has a bilateral agreement with the Russian Federation dating back to 2004. This agreement is facilitated in terms of a Joint Coordination Committee.

This Committee holds meetings at varied intervals depending on need, as well as on the side-lines of other engagements that may occur during the normal course of business. In terms of this Cooperation Agreement, South Africa and Russia have committed to work together in the interest of promoting the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

In addition to this Agreement, South Africa has similar bilateral Agreements with other countries including the United States of America, The European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), South Korea, China, Argentina and Algeria. Most recently, during the BRICS Summit held in Durban in May 2013, South Africa and Russia signed an Agreement which aims to strengthen areas of common interest including energy.

Government has consistently stated its intent to add nuclear energy to the South African energy mix in line with the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-2030. The IRP is a 20-year electricity security plan, which was developed through a robust public engagement process. The Plan recognises the need for South Africa to utilise diverse energy sources including nuclear.

This will ensure security of supply that complements the national commitments on the reduction of emissions from fossil fuels, and will be cost effective in the long run. The IRP states that nuclear energy will provide 9 600MW of energy by 2030, and the government has put in place structures that will take decisions linked to this programme in line with the Nuclear Energy Policy of June 2008.

That is, the National Nuclear Energy Executive Coordinating Committee made up of the President and Ministers of relevant departments, and supported by the Nuclear Energy Technical Team which consists of the heads of all relevant departments.

In order for the government to be able to make the appropriate decisions for the new nuclear build, government will continue to interact with various parties with the requisite capacity to take on a project of this magnitude. Thus, Minister Ben Martins says "in the interests of the energy security of all South Africans, government must be allowed the opportunity to carry out the necessary work needed towards finalising procurement for the new build programme."

The Minister also says that the government will make announcements on the way forward once definitive decisions have been taken by the appropriate structures.

In the meantime, the Minister and the Department of Energy will continue to communicate relevant information on the process as and when they are decided to ensure that the public is kept abreast of the developments.

Issued by: Department of Energy

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