Tag Archive | IAEA

Zuma’s nuclear energy call awaits Treasury

Nuclear energy awaits funding model…..

Sent to clients Dec 10 ….Cabinet’s approval of a financing model for the Nuclear New Build programme is all that is seriously holding up the nuclear energy procurement, the Department of Energy (DOE) has told Parliament’s Select Committee on Economic Development.

Z MbamboThis was said by Zizamele Mbambo, DDG, Nuclear, DOE, when giving the most recent update to parliamentarians on the background to the South Africa’s nuclear programme. In giving the history of SA nuclear development, he said that South Africa began its nuclear energy power plan in 1985 with Koeberg in Cape Town and the country should have its second plant up and running by 2023.

This much later programme was the culmination of a process which was re-started by Eskom in 2006 with the approval of the IAEA but then stopped by SA during the financial crisis in 2008, he said.

Start-up again

Later in 2013, much had changed on the nuclear energy supply situation because of technological advances in safety and the Russian and Japanese experiences. South Africa therefore requested in that year a specialised report from IAEA with their recommendations, the first country to do so where there was already a successful nuclear energy programme running.

IAEA supplied such a report with ten recommendations which South Africa will strictly adhere to, IAEA Mbambo said, these recommendations being in the public domain. The New Build programme would only be started upon a certification that all such recommendations had been met, a requirement of South Africa’s own nuclear energy regulator.

The National Nuclear Energy Executive Coordination Committee was earlier established by Cabinet in 2011 and the “2030” plan was endorsed by Cabinet the following year. In 2013, DOE was appointed as procuring agency. The Nuclear Energy Policy of 2008 still shapes South Africa’s vision for nuclear power, Zizamele Mbambo said.

Nuclear sellers

Inter-governmental agreements (IGAs) have so far been signed with five vendor countries and these IGAs lay the foundation for trade, exchange, nuclear technology and procurement with the particular vendor. It was conditional that all vendor nations must have signed nuclear non-proliferation agreements.

The principle behind South Africa’s Nuclear New Build programme was to replace the retiring coal fleet meeting additional demands and providing certainty to investors on energy, he said.

In answer to parliamentary questioning on the IGAs signed as a result of a “vendor parade”, Mbambo stated the following:-

The Russian Federation had agreed to assist in design, construction, operation and decommissioning of the nuclear units. Russia would also assist in the localisation of the manufacture of components for the nuclear units.
France would assist in applied research and development, and also with accounting and physical protection of nuclear waste.
China would assist with experience exchange, personnel training and enhancing infrastructure development.
The USA would assist in development design, construction, operational maintenance and use of reactors for reactor experiments. USA would also assist with health, safety and environmental considerations.
South Korea would assist in the use of nuclear energy for electricity generation, heating and desalination of salt water, and in dealing with radioactive waste.
Canada and Japan were in negotiation with SA, and these IGAs were in the final stages.

SA’s vision, Mbambo commented, was to become autonomous in nuclear energy from the beginning to end of the value chain.

Waste worries

He would not comment, however, on the court case to be heard with Earthlife on the issue of nuclear logoradioactive waste as this was sub-judice, he said.    He also said IAEA had been perfectly happy with previous Koeberg arrangements as far as waste was concerned but obviously plans had to be extended.

In answer to MPs questions on cost and the next stage of the programme, he agreed that nuclear option was indeed highly capital intensive. However within 20 years, Mbambo said, the capital investment would have been reduced to nil and in view of the long 80-year life of a plant, the following 60 years would come with nil capital cost, resulting in cheaper electricity relative to the time frame.

Future dreams

It was foreseen, he said, that with nuclear energy having lower maintenance and fuel costs the relative costs of electricity tariffs to industry and consumer could be reduced also in relative terms during the 60 year period and energy sales could become a “cash cow”.

When asked about hydro energy sources and gas development, Mbambo said this was outside of his brief to answer.
Other articles in this category or as background
National nuclear control centre now in place – ParlyReportSA
Minister Joemat-Pettersson clams up on nuclear – ParlyReportSA
Nuclear partner details awaited – ParlyReportSA

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Energy department plans more electricity for the poor

Ompi Aphane, deputy director general of department of energy (DOE), told parliamentarians that his department was acutely aware of the fact that South Africa needed energy security for development of the country and to reduce economic deprivation amongst the poor. However he said his departmental budget had been cut, resulting in a number of departmental objectives being abandoned.

A total of 3.4 million households did not have electricity, he said, and 1.2 million of these were in informal settlements around the country. This meant about 12.5 million people did not to have access to energy as is commonly understood. Ompi Aphane was addressing the NCOP’s select committee on economics and consequently his overview stressed provincial and rural targets.

The percentages of households without electricity were: Eastern Cape 20%, the Free State 6%, Gauteng 21%, KwaZulu-Natal 24%, Limpopo 10.5%, Mpumalanga 6.5%, North West 5.5%, Northern Cape 1.5% and the Western Cape 5%.

Aphane said that Development Bank of South Africa have joined the DOE on a rand to rand basis with electricity development in municipal areas where help is needed to overcome some of the issues, he told MPs. These arrangements were at MOU stage but, nevertheless, negotiations with certain municipalities was underway and planning going ahead.

Dr Wolsey Barnard of DOE (Inep-BPU) said that that it needed centralised buying power to bring down the costs of equipment supplied to make equipment such as transformers available at lower prices to smaller municipalities and IPPs. A more innovation approach to centralised procurement was needed, he said.

Returning to the overall picture, Ompi Aphane said South Africa had to remain competitive in terms of electricity pricing in order to attract investment and DOE remained conscious of the fact that the country had to be totally able to finance its R3trillion energy/electricity programme which included all power stations and national grid wiring and transmission systems.

The  main objectives for DOE were the planning and establishment of new electricity generation capacity in South Africa; the running of the multi year price determination process (MYPD) through to 2030 to establish electricity prices; to monitor all Eskom construction; the establishment of the independent market operator system (ISMO) bringing in independent electricity generation producers and to focus on the electricity distribution network as it applied to the rehabilitation of municipality systems and distribution.

On nuclear energy, Aphane told the select committee on economic development  that the IAEA review of South Africa’s nuclear needs was about to be finalised and hopefully ratified and  approved; all processes being for peaceful purposes, including the important applications in the food chain and health curative areas. Radiation monitoring at main ports of entry was a current project of DOE, he said.

Nuclear issues were subject to “scaremongering”, he said and DOE was fully aware of the need for full national debate on the issue and community awareness programmes. Amendments also were needed under the Nuclear Regulator Act which had to be approved by cabinet and provisions’ made for the withdrawal of the safeguards function from the nuclear operating body, the Nuclear Energy Corporation and pass this to independent governance of the regulator, NERSA.

Other legislative changes ahead were proposals to amendments to the National Energy Regulator Bill; the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill and the ISMO Bill. Draft legislation on nuclear waste issues was with cabinet, Aphane said.   The DOE energy policy and planning programme also had the objective of monitoring the effectiveness of the Increasing Block Tariff (IBT) designed to cushion the poor from rising costs in terms of the true cost of production. The programme planned to extend the IBT to cover prepaid meters in more municipal areas.

Bio-ethanol blending values had to be established and a debate commenced on exactly what were break-even bio fuel price structures if development was to be seen in this area. On energy renewables, Aphane said that a “template” had to be found for a renewables annual report so that progress and development could be measured.   A wind energy awareness campaign was being planned and the solar water heating implementation was well underway with over half a million solar water heating units so far installed.

Nevertheless, returning to his opening remarks, DOE reported that still 12.5 million individuals remained without electricity.   Inroads were being made and next year a further 70,000 municipal connections were expected and 111,500 Eskom connections were planned but price increases in the materials used, or “hardware” were escalating.

On non-grid solar home systems, the total installed to date since the start of the programme was 48,230. The provincial breakdown had been 10,385 in the Eastern Cape, 29,705 in KwaZulu-Natal and 8,140 in Limpopo.

In future, non-grid electrification programmes were not only to be implemented in what was known as “concessionary areas” but on a limited basis in Southern Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape areas where sunlight was more reliable. The target of 10 000 home systems for the current year had been achieved.

The DOE concluded that South Africa’s electrification policies were still valid but different strategies of implementation, particularly as far as climate change was concerned, were needed in the area of renewables.

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Finance, economic, Fuel,oil,renewables, Land,Agriculture, Public utilities, Trade & Industry, Uncategorized0 Comments


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