Keep an open mind about nuclear - Ramaphosa

Cape Town - South Africa should keep an open mind about nuclear energy as it seeks to diversify and secure its energy supply, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

"We should think out of the box, because thinking is one of those things we should do on a continuous basis, and when we embark on programmes, it does not mean that a great deal of thought has not gone into them," he said while answering questions in the National Council of Provinces.

"We are not being reckless when it comes to this. We are going to have an energy mix and the energy mix is going to be such that we will rely on a variety of energy sources."

He said coal had been the cheapest for South Africa so far, but it had to respond to climate change and the country had safely generated and used nuclear energy for many years, albeit on a limited scale, at its Koeberg plant.

"We cannot now say: 'No, we must not think about nuclear, we must not think about hydro," he added, lapsing into Afrikaans in response to a question from the Democratic Alliance about the potential debt burden of building another nuclear plant.

Ramaphosa said government was not planning to saddle future generations with soaring debt servicing costs but to secure energy supply because a lack thereof would constrain economic growth.

"If we can resolve the energy problem or challenge in our country, we should be able to fuel our economic growth going up on an exponential basis. So yes, it is going to cost money, infrastructure projects don't come free.

"The key challenge is for us to find a balanced way of financing all these projects."

Ramaphosa chairs the National Planning Commission, which in its blueprint for development cautioned against resorting to nuclear energy because of the cost, but in June President Jacob Zuma signalled that government planned to pursue nuclear to expand the country's energy mix.

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Lynn Hugo 2014/08/27 06:03:46 PM
The only open mind I have is mutation, cancer, and contamination. Need we think more on this!!!
Akhenaten 2014/08/27 06:05:11 PM
Good advice. I've kept an open mind and moved away from Koeberg as possible.
Frankysmashcake 2014/08/27 06:19:08 PM
Hau!. . . . where dat spanner. . . . ? Dees teeng he is boiling. .
Liz 2014/08/27 06:29:25 PM
Exponential growth?
Nigel Alfred Jopson 2014/08/27 06:33:30 PM
Do we honestly have the skills and experience to manage nuclear power?
Anthony Proanc 2014/08/27 06:58:37 PM
. You are wrong Ramaphosa !! Look at alternative energy !! .
Jeffries Xhoba 2014/08/27 07:07:20 PM
"because thinking is one of those things we should do on a continuous basis"... Really? How much thinking were u doing when u stopped building powerstations? How much thinking were u doing with eTolls, the Arms Deal, etc. Cyril, you open yourself up for ridicule with comments like that.
Rory Short 2014/08/27 07:24:25 PM
Nuclear is history. In this day and age the technology to make use of renewable energy is available, tried and tested, and the cost of it is dropping every year. Also we have in this country, the whole year round, a super abundance of solar energy which is free and absolutely non-polluting as it comes from a nuclear reaction millions of miles away from earth. The choice between nuclear on earth or nuclear in the sun is a no brainer.
Trevor Whitehead 2014/08/27 07:33:02 PM
Gawd!!!..scary stuff this...with our technicians we gonna have a Chernobyl disaster in our backyard
Rice Safari 2014/08/27 07:36:19 PM
Nuclear will give our politicians the chance to make the arms deal seem like a practice run. With Jacob and Cyril both advocating nuclear what are the odds?