Monday 27 August 2018 4:49 pm

South African government abandons plan for more nuclear power

South Africa has ditched plans to expand its nuclear power capacity, in favour of diversifying towards natural gas, wind and other energy sources.

Under the leadership of former President Jacob Zuma, the government had put forward a proposal to increase the amount of energy generated by nuclear power by six fold.

If given the go ahead, the plans would have added 9,600 megawatts (MW) of nuclear power by 2030. The current capacity generated by the technology is 1,860MW.

Read more: South Africa’s Zuma blasts Amcu

Russian firm Rosatom was seen as a frontrunner to pick up contracts to build the reactors after several meetings were held between Zuma and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But ballooning costs and other issues mean the government now has “no plans to increase nuclear by 2030”, according to Jeff Radebe, the energy minister.

Radebe made the statement while unveiling the government’s new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

His comments echo those of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who labelled the nuclear initiative as “too expensive” shortly after replacing Zuma in February.

Instead the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) calls for additional capacity of 8,100 MW from wind and 8,100 MW from gas, 5,670 MW from photovoltaic panels, 2,500 MW from hydro and 1,000 MW from coal by 2030.