Energy security: nuclear highlighted as a viable option
ESI-AFRICA.COM / 02 NOVEMBER 2017 - 04.52 / STAFF REPORTER
Speaking in Abu Dhabi earlier this week, South African ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Mpetjane Lekgoro, emphasised nuclear as a viable option for many countries including South Africa, necessary to achieve energy security.
In his address at the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st century, Lekgoro emphasised that nuclear safety should continue to be at the heart of activities.
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In efforts to secure a safe nuclear environment, the Ambassador noted the release of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident report and the adoption of the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety, which South Africa has studied and implemented key lessons to mitigate extreme external events.
Energy security is central to economic development across the world, the Ambassador said.
The report published by the IAEA on the “International Status and Prospects for Nuclear Power 2017” indicates that there are 447 operational nuclear power reactors in 30 countries, and 60 are under construction in 15 countries, Lekgoro cited.
He added: “It similarly illustrates that the demand for nuclear power is on a positive trajectory thereby demonstrating that it remains a viable option for Member States.”
South Africa’s development plan
“Nuclear energy is central to socio-economic development and has become a key focus of the IAEA.
“In this regard, South Africa commends the Agency for its continued support to Member States to address their socio-economic challenges in the priority areas of human health, food and agriculture, industrial applications, water resource management and environmental protection,” Lekgoro explained.
He added: “The positive contribution by the Agency in shaping the new global development agenda, more specifically Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, is well appreciated by South Africa.
South Africa made an informed decision to pursue nuclear power as part of the energy mix, through the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010 – 2030, which envisages an additional 9.6GW of nuclear power capacity.
“We are currently reviewing South Africa’s Nuclear New Build Programme so as to ensure that the process accords with our legislative framework, including engagement with the public in the decision-making process.
“Once this review has been completed, we are committed to implementing the Nuclear New Build Programme at a scale and pace that our country can afford.”
The Ambassador said that the country is committed to ensuring that the expansion of the nuclear power generating capacity provides the maximum benefit to the country.
“In this regard, we are convinced that the Nuclear New Build Programme will bring many socio-economic benefits in line with our country’s National Development Plan.
“These range from reducing greenhouse gas emissions in keeping with South Africa’s climate change commitments, the development of advanced technology, and skills development in order to achieve a stable, sustainable, clean, and cost effective baseload electricity,” Lekgoro said.
Citing the IAEA’s motto of “Atoms for peace and development”, South Africa believes that nuclear power is one of the sustainable energy sources that provides clean, reliable electricity, Lekgoro concluded.
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Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER