It’s a myth that South Africa’s nuclear build programme will devastate the economy, maintains one body, while another says it will actually rev up the economy. This despite concerns about the safety of nuclear power and its costs compared to renewables.
The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) and the South African Young Nuclear Professional Society (SAYNPS) were responding to the release of the Request For Information (RFI) by Eskom. This is for the procurement of nuclear power stations as part of the broader Nuclear Build Programme.
NIASA said in a statement on Wednesday that it would like to debunk the myths that the nuclear build programme will plunge the South African economy into debt.
“These assertions are unfounded, as the official financial models from both government and bidders have not been tabled,” said NIASA managing director Knox Msebenzi.
“National Treasury has made clear pronouncements that the viability and affordability of nuclear will be investigated further with more detail, research and accuracy with a balanced panel of experts providing insights and views.”
Msebenzi explained that an RFI is a sensible starting point since it is generally used to help identify solutions to a business-related issue that may not be immediately evident or clearly defined.
“The RFI is used to gather vital information to guide a transparent and fair procurement process, not to make a selection or award a contract to a particular vendor. We also see this staggered approach as a positive as it aids in public awareness and understanding, further contributing to the concept of an open government approach or (OGP),” he said.
“We stand by our statement that nuclear is the cheapest, safest and cleanest form for energy, necessary to support the industrialization goals of the country, while also supporting our global climate change commitments as a country,” said Msebenzi.
He noted that South Africa can achieve low-carbon electricity generation by using nuclear energy in harmony with renewables.
“This can energise our transport and industrial sectors, reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and preserve our precious water resources,” Msebenzi said.
following the releasing of the RFI, SAYNPS said it will do everthing it can to ensure that the youth benefits from this programme.
“The Nuclear build programme will not only strengthen the South African economy, but it will also provide opportunities for young professionals in various fields such engineering, physics, artisan, technicians, radiation protection, teachers, lawyers, commerce, etc.”
SAYNPS outlined that the the programme seeks to drive the economic growth and increase production output, which will lead to increased exports of value added manufacturing products.
This will help improve South Africa’s business outlook and broaden economic participation by promoting SMME enterprises and co-operatives. It said the programme further also seeks to, provide quality and sustainable jobs and localisation of skills through the transfer of foreign technology as well as skills development.
SAYNPS added that it is of the view that nuclear is a sustainable baseline alternative that would assist the country and the world to reduce the global carbon footprint.
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