The French Nuclear Society (SFEN) and the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) signed a cooperation agreement recently as part of a longstanding and fruitful Franco-South African nuclear cooperation which includes the construction, between 1976 and 1984, of the Koeberg nuclear power plant, 30 km north of Cape Town.
The agreement signed by SFEN and NIASA intend to foster the advancement of science and technology in the area of nuclear energy, as well as knowledge sharing between experts from both countries. Consequently, it will contribute to supporting the development of nuclear energy in South Africa, so the country is to have the best tools to mitigate climate change.
Both parties told delegates of COP21 in Paris, that nuclear energy –a low carbon, energy efficient, competitive and always available electricity generating source – is part of the solution to the challenge of climate change.
In 2012, South-Africa produced 258 TWh, 93% from coal, 5% from nuclear and 2% from hydro. In the meantime, according to the World Bank, nearly 8-million people live without electricity. The goal is to achieve a universal access to the grid by 2025. It is a major social challenge for the country.
NIASA and SFEN share the belief that nuclear energy supports the low-carbon growth of South Africa. South Africa’s National Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP 2010) plans massive new renewable energies as well as a new nuclear build. The consumption of electricity is expected to double, from 43,9 GW in 2010 to 89,5 GW in 2030. IRP 2010 envisions a generation capacity of 89 532 MW for 2030 with 57% fossil fuels, 26% renewable and 15% nuclear.
The two associations also point out that nuclear energy enables a reduction of CO2 emissions, while providing economic and industrial development. They say that nuclear investments are growth engines for the regions and countries in which they are constructed. These investments directly create highly skilled employment, far beyond reactor operation and maintenance. They include engineering, construction, manufacturing and design, regulation, legal, government, finance, insurance, research, mining, transport, radiation, environment and radiation protection, and communication roles. The introduction of nuclear power can also boost education levels in the wider population, as all jobs require a high level of basic science.
The Koeberg power plant already gives employment opportunities for about 1500 people. The South-African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) research centre employs 2000 people and undertakes researches and development in the field of nuclear energy, including the operation of the SAFARI-1 research reactor.
Contact NIASA, Tel 082 904-3913, email@example.com