South Africa to build big nuclear plantMay 30th, 2012 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS
Johannesburg, May 30 (IANS) South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has stressed the need for replacing coal with other energy sources, particularly nuclear energy. He said the country would build a large nuclear plant.
Boasting more than 25 years of experience in developing nuclear technology, South Africa possesses sound knowledge that makes it competent to run a large nuclear power plant, Motlanthe said in a video message Tuesday to the National Nuclear Energy Conference in Johannesburg, reported Xinhua.
“South Africa has developed the complex overall systems required to competently operate and maintain a large nuclear power plant. However, South Africa’s nuclear history goes back much further than that — it actually goes back to the mid-1940s, a period of over 60 years.
“This makes South Africa one of the oldest nuclear countries in the world. We have a long, proud history in the field of nuclear science,” Motlanthe said.
South Africa relies heavily on coal, which constitutes about 90 percent of the country’s energy sources.
“This scenario is strategically unwise over the longer term,” said Motlanthe.
He highlighted the need to produce electricity in other parts of the country to spread the electricity production points around the national grid.
“This is a strategically sensible approach, which requires us to use other energy sources in addition to coal. Nuclear power is ideal in this sense, because we can build large nuclear power plants at points around our southern coastline, and potentially elsewhere in the future,” he noted.
In its integrated resource plan, the government aims to increase the nuclear output to 9.6 GW by 2029. South Africa has the African continent’s only nuclear power station — the Koeberg, which is near Cape Town.
While developing nuclear energy, safety assurance was most important for public acceptance of the nuclear power industry, Motlanthe said.
South Africa’s good record in this respect should be maintained and enhanced as a primary foundation of the industry, he stressed.
He said foreign companies wishing to gain entry into nuclear power construction should ensure that they acquired the necessary quality assurance culture and practice at an early stage.
“South Africa possesses a well-established system of nuclear facility operations. This includes construction and process licensing, nuclear construction and fabrication regulation, health and safety monitoring, and the training of the required skilled personnel. All of this is directly linked to general safety considerations.”
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