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Knox Msebenzi, NIASA MD

The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa has welcomed the announcement of the release date, 30 September 2016 of the much anticipated, request for proposal for the procurement of nuclear power stations as part of the broader Nuclear Build Programme.

Nuclear is an efficient & environmentally safe way to generate sufficient base load power to our rapidly growing energy demands and necessary to grow our economy. It is not the only solution, but a critical component of the entire energy mix, as supported by the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2010 -2030)

NIASA echoes and supports the calls for transparency in the nuclear build programme in its entirety but further extends its calls for an emphasis towards localization, local content and skills development as founding principals for the selection of the winning vendor/s; in order to ensure tangible development and meaningful employment for the communities where the plants will be located and the people of South Africa as a whole.

“The Nuclear project will not only support industry and create much needed employment, it will also create a platform upon which our economy can grow and develop. NIASA is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that the next Nuclear build project is transparently and professionally managed through all phases of its development,” says Knox Msebenzi, NIASA Managing Director.

Moreover, NIASA encourages a more robust debate on the nuclear build and meaningful public participation at all key decision making milestones through out the procurement and build phases, taking into consideration key learnings from previous large scale infrastructure projects in the country. 

‘As a country we have experience in large scale projects and we have varied experts to advise and guide us towards the successful delivery of the project over the next 20 years. We can draw valuable insights from both our successful projects and the not so successful ones and improve on our performance accordingly,’ Msebenzi adds. 

 In regards to matters of financing; the official RFP and response of vendors will be the first indication of what nuclear energy will cost the fiscus, it will allow an accurate allocation of nuclear capacity as part of the energy mix of the new IRP and therefore guide the industry of the accurate figures and in turn open up the debate on the various financing and risk mitigation models. Therefore, any assertions and pronouncements in this regard are premature and untested at present.

‘It is up to government to find the optimal financing with the multiple objectives of security of electrical power supply and economic development. Whatever model chosen, it should ideally have sufficient flexibility to allow for adjustments of the timing of the construction of the fleet over the planned horizon.’ Msebenzi concludes.

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