SA still looking into Nuclear: Mantashe

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South Africa will not adopt a “big bang” approach to building new nuclear power capacity, but it will look into adding modular nuclear technology at a pace it can afford, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday.

“It comes back to a resolution we took as a government: not going big bang into nuclear, but going at a pace and price that the country can afford. … Go modular, go at a pace and price that the country can afford,” Mantashe told reporters.

“The fact that we suspected corruption (in the previously floated Russia deal) doesn’t mean that nuclear is irrelevant for the country in 2019.

In 2017, the Western Cape High Court set aside all nuclear deals with South Africa. The court ruled that all the deals were unlawful and unconstitutional. This includes deals with the United States, Russia and South Korea.

Earthlife South Africa and the South African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute applied to the courts to challenge the government’s decision to buy 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power without a debate in Parliament.

Then minister of Energy, Mmamoloko Kubayi, highlighted that the department will not appeal the judgement. Kubayi, however, maintained that the state will not back down on nuclear energy plans.