During a round table engagement in Johannesburg on Tuesday, South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe said the government is considering further implementing nuclear power in the country’s long-term energy strategy.
“It comes back to a resolution we took as a government: not going big bang into nuclear, but going at a pace and price that the country can afford,” said Mantashe.
Under the Jacob Zuma administration, the South African government in partnership with a number of Russian nuclear energy groups attempted to push through a $65 million nuclear energy plan. Never to see the light of day, this controversial plan was quickly halted by President Cyril Ramaphosa upon election.
Addressing this and his plans, Mantashe said: “The fact that we suspected corruption doesn’t mean that nuclear is irrelevant for the country in 2019.”
Still, the only country on the continent with a commercial nuclear power plant, South Africa generates five percent of its electricity production from the Koeberg nuclear power station’s two reactors.
Not providing any information or timeframe on potential nuclear new builds, Mantashe said the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) needed to be finalized first. He added that he hopes to “take the IRP to cabinet in the next two weeks.”
On the future power plans, Mantashe stressed the importance of undoing the tensions between renewables and coal in securing energy solutions that are required to meet demands. With this, he explained that there is no full commitment by the government to move towards nuclear, but rather a commitment to explore all energy options.
“You can’t just jump from one extreme to the next one,” he explained. “If you switch off all coal-fired power stations in the hope that you will have renewables, you will plunge the country into darkness.”
Minister Mantashe will deliver the opening address at the fourth annual Africa Oil & Power conference in Cape Town which will take place at the CTICC 1 on October 9-11, 2019.
He will be joined by Deputy Minister, Bavelile Hlongwa who will deliver a keynote address at the exclusive AOP gala dinner.
AOP 2019 will feature the participation of H.E Macky Sall, President of Senegal; H.E Diamantino Azevedo, Minister of Mining and Petroleum of Angola; H.E. Mahaman Laouan Gaya, Secretary-General of APPO; H.E.Mouhamadou Maktar Cisse, Minister of Petroleum and Energy of Senegal; Hon. Awow Daniel Chuang, Minister of Petroleum of South Sudan and Hon. Tsukutlane Au, Minister of Energy and Meteorology of Lesotho.
Learn more about Africa Oil & Power’s 2019 flagship event and book your exhibition space and delegate passes at www.aop2019.com