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EIUG head calls for rethink on SA’s nuclear plan via Engineering News

The head of South Africa’s Energy Intensive User Group (EIUG), which represents Eskom’s largest mining and industrial customers, has called for a full review of the country’s future generation capacity options, including the validity of pursuing a “substantial, expensive and inflexible nuclear programme”.

Writing in the Business Day, EIUG chairperson Mike Rossouw described the current version of the Integrated Resources Plan (IRP), which was published in 2011 and outlines South Africa’s new electricity generation capacity plan for the 20-year period from 2010 to 2030, as “outdated”.

“A review should consider, for example, the scope for new technology innovation in power, the validity of a substantial, expensive and inflexible nuclear programme and alternative fuel options, such as gas,” Rossouw argues.

It has been reported previously that the Department of Energy is likely to conduct a review of the current IRP during 2013, and that there is an intention to increase the role of imported and unconventional gas options into a revised plan.

Rossouw tells Engineering News Online that the review is “overdue”, as there have been material changes in the electricity environment since the IRP was published.

For instance, the IRP’s assumed electricity demand growth is 2.5%, while the expectation currently is for average yearly growth of less than 2% over the coming five years.

The EIUG is not opposed to nuclear as a technology option, but is concerned that the addition of 9 600 MW of new nuclear capacity by 2030 could foreclose other opportunities that are more responsive to changing energy-market dynamics.

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