The Democratic Alliance (DA) warned again on Monday against the potential perils of the proposed nuclear power plan suggested by president Jacob Zuma at the State of the Nation address last month.
President Jacob Zuma, during his speech at the country’s State of the Nation address, explained how South Africa’s current energy crisis requires a, “radical transformation of the energy sector,” which will include nuclear power being integrated into the current infrastructure. “Nuclear has the possibility of generating well over 9000 megawatts,” the president said at the time.
Democratic Alliance MP, Lance Greyling, however warned of the fact that the programme could drastically increase the country’s energy cost, due to the investment such a project would require. “This programme could cost the country upwards of R1 trillion and will push up electricity prices to completely unaffordable levels,” Greyling stated while speaking in Parliament during a debate on the topic of the government’s Department of Energy’s R7,4 billion budget.
Greyling explained how the project would increase the cost of electricity in South Africa, which could drive down demand and economic growth. “We could have the absurd situation whereby after spending vast sums of money on this programme and over ten years building these nuclear plants, there will no longer be the customers willing to buy the energy from them. This is the arms deal and the e-toll debacle rolled into one and then magnified by ten,” he said.
Energy minister, Tina Joematt-Petterson, opened the debate describing nuclear power as central to the countries future energy mix. She stated that government intends to draw a total of 9,6 gigawatts of power from nuclear energy, and that a revamp of the Koeberg power station is probable. She also stated that government intends to fast track the matter in order to begin production. This is all part of government’s integrated power plan which they intend to have up and running by the year 2030.
Greyling expressed concern about the ramifications of the programme in both the business and civil sectors. “It seems the only person truly in favour of this plan is the president himself, and given the huge potential for corruption in this programme, I suppose it is not difficult to see why,” he said.