Oh no: NERSA takes SA another step towards new nuclear

OUTA believes South Africa cannot afford new nuclear power stations

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20/08/2021 08:45:32

Oh no: NERSA takes SA another step towards new nuclear power stations

OUTA is extremely concerned that the National Energy Regulator (NERSA) electricity subcommittee has today conditionally indicated approval of the government's proposal that South Africa should build another 2500MW of nuclear power stations.

This is not NERSA's final decision, but its subcommittee's recommendation to the NERSA board which will then take the final decision.

"OUTA is very disappointed with the NERSA subcommittee decision," says Liz McDaid, OUTA's Parliamentary and Energy Advisor.

"This decision squarely raises the problems of having an outdated energy policy."

OUTA strongly believes this is not affordable, not appropriate and should not be approved.

NERSA was asked to approve the determination by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, that South Africa needs another 2500MW of new nuclear power. OUTA had made a formal submission to NERSA to oppose this.

NERSA's subcommittee has recommended a conditional approval with suspensive conditions, citing concerns over affordability.

OUTA will await the NERSA full board decision and the reasons for decision before deciding on a way forward.

The South African government has a history of making - or attempting to make - decisions in favour of hugely expensive nuclear builds in deals which seem suspiciously linked to corruption rather than the needs of the country.

The background

In June 2020, Minister Mantashe issued a non-binding Request for Information on building 2 500 MW of new nuclear power.

In November 2020, NERSA announced it had received a request from the Minister to concur with a determination (authorisation) in terms of section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act that South Africa needs another 2500MW of new nuclear power.

In February 2021, OUTA opposed this request. More on this, and OUTA’s reasons for opposing new nuclear build, are here.

In May 2021, the Minister told Parliament in a written reply that if NERSA concurs with the determination, the department intends to complete the procurement of 2500MW of nuclear new build by 2024. This reply is here.


A soundclip with comment from OUTA's Liz McDaid is here.


Picture: OUTA