Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Wednesday remained firm that South Africa could not afford to embark on a nuclear power expansion programme, adding that for the moment the country’s new coal-powered stations provided adequate supply.
“Since the statement by the president in Davos, nothing has changed … We cannot afford it,” he told a media briefing shortly before tabling his 2018 budget to parliament.
Gigaba was referring to remarks made by then deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa at the World Economic Forum last month.
Gigaba was responding to a question on why the budget made no provision for new nuclear plants, a policy drive of Jacob Zuma, who made way for Ramaphosa as president last week.
Gigaba said that adding nuclear to the country’s energy mix remained part of the Integrated Resource Plan, but suggested this could be revised eventually and that even if an energy shortage were to arise in the meanwhile, it was unlikely the state would opt for nuclear as a source of baseline power given the cost.
The minister said the Medupi power station, one of the biggest in the world, was significantly altering the picture in terms of supply.
– African News Agency (ANA)