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Debate: the future of nuclear power in SA

October 30, 2014 @ 15:30 - 18:00

nuclear energy price debate russia safetyYou, your colleagues, friends and all interested persons are cordially invited to attend an open public debate hosted by EE Publishers and The Daily Maverick on:

The future of nuclear energy in South Africa

  • DATE: 30 October 2014
  • TIME: 15h30 for 16h00 to 18h00, followed by a cocktail party till 20h00
  • VENUE: AxizWorkgroup Auditorium, International Business Gateway, cnr. New Road and Sixth Road, Midrand
  • MAP: Click here for map to the AxizWorkgroup Auditorium
  • COST: R80 per person, payable at the door, to cover catering costs

After the debate, a networking cocktail party will be provided with hot and cold snacks, wine, beer and soft-drinks.

Join the debate to learn more about the issues, the upsides and downsides of nuclear energy in SA, and have your say!


The debate will be chaired by an eminent energy expert, who will table the motions for the debate, namely:

“Nuclear energy is inappropriate for SA for cost, safety and environmental reasons, and should be abandoned“; and

“Nuclear energy is an important part of the energy mix in SA, and a transparent, competitive and cost effective procurement process should proceed as soon as possible“.

Four acknowledged experts will argue the motions. Each presenter will be given 20 minutes to discuss the issues, and argue the case, after which the chair will entertain discussion, argument and clarifications from the floor, and between presenters. Each presenter will then be given five minutes to wrap up. A vote will be taken on the motions before and after the debate, to determine the final mood of the audience, and the impact of the presentations and argument. The names and resumes of the chairperson and presenters will be announced a week before the debate.


The South African national integrated resource plan for electricity (IRP2010-2030) plans the construction of 9600 MW of nuclear power stations by the end of 2030. The draft 2013 IRP Update scales this back, but this draft has not yet been formally accepted. Further studies and analysis from the Energy Research Centre at UCT and members of the National Planning Commission caution against SA committing to long-term, inflexible nuclear mega-projects. Yet President Zuma, in his 2014 state-of-the-nation address, seems intent on proceeding with the 9600 MW nuclear new-build programme without further delay.

His new minister of energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, gives the impression that the constitutional requirements for a transparent, fair, competitive and cost-effective procurement process will be bypassed in favour of a done deal with Rostatom, the Russian government nuclear energy agency, for the construction of eight Russian VVER nuclear reactors. Environmental lobby groups, on the other hand, argue that nuclear power should be abandoned.


Without being prescriptive, it is expected that some of the issues to be debated will include:

  • Can SA afford a nuclear new-build programme of 9600 MW as planned in IRP2010-2030?
  • Can SA afford NOT to have a nuclear new-build programme, with nuclear as part of its future energy mix?
  • Can SA meet its CO2 emission commitments without a nuclear new-build programme?
  • What will a nuclear new-build programme for SA cost per MW of installed capacity, and how will SA fund this?
  • Should SA scale back its planned nuclear new-build programme (as per the IRP 2013 Update), or even abandon it?
  • Will there be a transparent, fair and competitive procurement process for a nuclear new-build programme in SA, or will this be corrupted to benefit the political elite?
  • Can SA afford to finance, build, own and operate a new nuclear fleet on its own as in the past, or will SA require financial and technical partners?
  • Can SA afford to have a major part of its energy needs controlled by foreign interests with different agendas?
  • Should South Africans entrust President Putin and Russia with the country’s nuclear new-build programme?
  • Nuclear construction is notorious for massive time and cost overruns. What will be the true cost and delivery time for SA?
  • With the cost of a nuclear accident very high, is the risk of a nuclear accident in SA acceptable or not?

Click here to register to attend the debate.

Join the debate to learn more about issues, the upside and the downside of nuclear energy in South Africa, and have your say!


October 30, 2014
15:30 - 18:00


AxizWorkgroup Auditorium
International Business Gateway, cnr. New Road and Sixth Road, Midrand
Johannesburg, South Africa
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