Pretoria – South Africa will continue to use nuclear energy for the improvement of lives, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Thursday.
“President Jacob Zuma has said that we need to use and will continue using nuclear energy for feeding, healing, energy and water provision,” said Peters, who was speaking at the official launch of the South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi).
Sanedi has been established through the merger of two entities, namely the South African National Energy Research Institute (Saneri) and National Energy Efficiency Agency (NEEA). Research done by Sanedi will inform government policy and its strategic energy plan to help address the country’s rising energy demands by accelerating green energy products in the country.
Peters said South Africa was going “to have serious challenges” of water in the next 10 years. She expressed excitement at the use of nuclear for saving lives.
“Two days ago, I signed a letter at Steve Biko Hospital [whereby] with nuclear medicine, they could intervene in healing liver tumours and treating prostate cancer with nuclear technology. This shows the capability of South Africa,” she said.
South Africa has converted its nuclear reactors from high enriched uranium to low enriched uranium, which is the one used for health applications.
South Africa is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and had signed up for stress tests to ascertain whether its reactors were vulnerable to natural causes like tsunamis. As a member of the agency, the country had several milestones it must meet.
“South Africa will soon build 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear [power] and we have 19 milestones from the agency we must meet to make sure that by the time we get to procurement, we’ve gone through all the requirements because we are a responsible government,” explained Peters.
Last month, the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) announced that the country’s nuclear installations can withstand natural events. This followed an assessment of reports from Eskom and the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) – which aimed to identify vulnerabilities in the design of facilities as well as identify necessary modifications to be implemented where needed.
The NNR, following the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident, instructed both Eskom and Necsa to conduct safety reassessment reports of their nuclear plants, namely Koeberg and the Necsa-owned Safari 1 tank-in-pool type materials testing reactor in Pelindaba. – SAnews.gov.za