Nuclear


Nuclear power is paradoxical. On the one hand it has the best safety record of any large scale source of electricity and is the only one to have procedures for storing its waste safely. On the other it is perceived as being dangerous and having a waste problem. Perceptions are the greatest obstacle for nuclear power [DoME et al, 2002].

Nuclear power generates large amounts of electricity from very small amounts of fuel. It releases no greenhouse gases in its operation. Because the fuel is so small, it can be transported easily and nuclear power stations can be situated anywhere. South Africa has one nuclear power station, Koeberg, just north of Cape Town. It uses standard pressurised water reactors [DoME et al, 2002].

South Africa’s estimated uranium resources are 261 thousand tons [DME, 2003].

Continuous political arm wrestling is the flavour of the day for the proposed expansion of the nuclear power fleet. It is understood that the nuclear expansion would be a costly exercise with the Eskom and respectively the government balance sheet not being able to afford such an undertaking, with a projected cost of $73 billion [NUS, 2016-09].

References

Department Of Minerals And Energy, Eskom, Energy Research Institute, University Of Cape Town (2002) ‘Energy Outlook For South Africa’

Department Of Minerals And Energy (2003)

NUS Consulting, (2016-09), ‘South Africa Market Energy Report’, NUS Consulting,