There is an urgent need to build more nuclear power plants in South Africa, Eskom CEO Brian Molefe said on Wednesday.
“We do not think it is possible to have an energy mix without nuclear,” he told Parliament.
“The nuclear programme is feasible,” he said. “It has a life beyond 60 years and the payback period is 20 years.
“It feasible to fund and operate further nuclear plants in South Africa,” he said. “It is urgent that we do so.”
The average age of Eskom’s base load fleet is 34 years and is dominated by coal power stations, which South Africa wants to ditch to improve its CO2 emissions.
A successful renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme has started to revolutionise the way power is generated in South Africa, with 6 327 MW procured since 2010. Environmentalists want this amount to increase – while changing electricity usage behaviour – to ensure coal and nuclear are not needed.
However, Treasury allocated R200m to the Department of Energy to focus on researching nuclear energy funding models in October.
In the meantime, various countries have entered into intergovernmental agreements with South Africa to become vendors for a planned 9 600 MW nuclear energy programme.