Whilst the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) public hearings on the guidelines for the electricity reseller tariffs were ongoing inside Gallagher convention centre today, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and different community based organisations were demonstrating their frustrations over the unreasonably high electricity tariffs charged by Eskom and its many electricity resellers outside the venue.
Eskom not taking part in nuclear acquisition BUSINESS DAY BY CAROL PATON, 15 SEPTEMBER 2014, ESKOM, FORMERLY DESIGNATED THE “OWNER AND OPERATOR” OF SA’S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME, WILL NOT BE INVOLVED IN THE UP COMING NUCLEAR PROCUREMENT, SAY DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY OFFICIALS, EXCEPT AS THE PURCHASER OF POWER FROM A NEW — POSSIBLY FOREIGN — NUCLEAR ENTITY.
The Cabinet subcommittee on energy security is deep into the technical work needed to procure a massive nuclear fleet. Key to the procurement going ahead will be the financing arrangements, as the construction of nuclear plants has enormous capital costs.
While the Nuclear Energy Policy for SA of 2008 designates Eskom as the “owner and operator of nuclear power plants in SA”, department acting director-general Wolsey Barnard said recently that both Eskom’s financial circumstances and the availability of alternative financing arrangements for energy meant this would have to change.
“The nuclear policy has not yet changed, but what needs to be realised is that the financial position of Eskom has deteriorated since 2008 and to expose Eskom to such a project at this stage would not be sustainable. ……..
Though the government feels confident that public opinion has been taken into account, neither business nor labour agrees that consultation has been sufficient.
The National Development Plan urged caution on nuclear power, saying other options — such as natural gas — should be explored first.
Business Unity SA (Busa) acting CEO Cas Coovadia said “an effective debate on our energy options in the long term” was urgently required. Busa is working to draft an energy policy both for SA’s immediate and long-term needs, he said.
National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni, whose union is a leading opponent of nuclear energy in the Congress of South African Trade Unions, said the union was dead-against nuclear power over safety and cost issues.
“As a country we have not had a dialogue on nuclear power. The process is not transparent and will be easily corrupted. It will make the arms deal look like a Sunday picnic. And the National Development Plan (NDP) is not positive on nuclear. Government can’t pick and choose on the NDP; if they do it is not a plan,” said Mr Baleni……….
Eskom spokesman on nuclear power Tony Stott. said there would be another opportunity for comment through the National Nuclear Regulator’s and Nersa’s licensing processes.
However, these will be long after the contracting is completed. http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2014/09/15/eskom-not-taking-part-in-nuclear-acquisition
A nuclear tale that sounds too good to be true Business Day BY CAROL PATON, 15 SEPTEMBER 2014, BUILD now, pay much later. That is the good news story about nuclear energy being told to SA’s decision-makers. In this model, a nuclear vendor and a financier — usually the government of the country of the vendor or a state-owned enterprise or bank — come as a package. The loan from the financier is repaid from the electricity tariff over the long term, 15 to 20 years, and repayments begin when electricity is produced.
The vendor-financed option has made the scary R1-trillion price tag, wielded by Department of Energy and Treasury officials as a warning to their political principals, disappear in a puff of smoke. The nuclear option appears even more attractive when vendors move onto the next part of the story: as operating costs for nuclear energy are low, and the expense lies in construction, once the loan is repaid, energy becomes a virtual “cash cow” for the operator, and any private investors, for up to 30 years………
The clear frontrunners in this are French company Areva and Russian state-owned enterprise Rosatom. Both offer technology and finance in one package, with some differences. At the heart of both is a power purchase agreement in which the operator of the grid, Eskom, would make an irrevocable commitment to purchase the electricity at an agreed tariff………
An important part of the financing package for vendors interested in SA is the government’s commitment in the nuclear policy of 2008 to a fleet approach. Vendors are able to offer better prices if a fleet of reactors is procured as they get better at building them. Some vendors will not consider SA at all without a fleet procurement.
This is what lies behind SA’s curious decision in the IRP 2010, SA’s electricity plan, to include 9,600MW of nuclear power in the energy mix. This would amount to a fleet of six Areva reactors (or more, if other vendors with smaller reactors are selected). As electricity demand is far from certain, and has not grown as expected over the past two years or more, overbuilding capacity is a risk.
Independent analysts, such as Prof Harald Winkler of the University of Cape Town, argue that even a nuclear fleet would be more expensive than other options and would lock SA into even higher electricity prices with negative effects on the economy.
Costs such as insurance in the event of a nuclear accident, dealing with the waste, and decommissioning the plant, are not built into the construction prices.
The conclusion of all of this is that the magnitude of the government guarantees required in a R400bn-R800bn nuclear plant building exercise remain very difficult to estimate. Whatever the size of the guarantee and its purpose — for construction or as a guarantee to purchase the power — it would have to find its way onto SA’s contingent liabilities……..
Despite the good “build now, pay later” message being punted by nuclear vendors, the probability is that it will be business and consumers that not only pay later, but pay much more. http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2014/09/15/news-analysis-a-nuclear-tale-that-sounds-too-good-to-be-true
New initiative boosts Renewable Energy Technology Transfer between China and Ghana and Zambia with UNDP and Danish Development Assistance as catalysts Jakarta Post BEIJING, Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — A milestone partnership was forged today inBeijing between China, Denmark, Ghana, Zambia and UNDP with the signing of a project agreement for Renewable Energy Technology Transfer.
This project is one of the first examples of triangular South-South cooperation betweenChina and Africa with support from a donor. Its objective is to ensure that Chinese renewable energy technologies are optimally responding to priorities and needs inGhana and Zambia, and critical skills are also transferred and developed to make the technologies actually work on the ground. This approach will have a tremendous impact on increasing access to energy for the rural poor in the two countries, and for other developing countries interested in such cooperation withChina in the future.
The project is part of the UNDP-China agreement for Strengthened Partnership signed in 2010 to promote South-South cooperation through innovative programmes. “UNDP is pleased to embark on this cooperation and is committed to making projects more impactful and more sustainable by providing ‘software’ support with the transfer of renewable energy technologies, rather than just relying on the traditional hardware of equipment or infrastructure,” said Xu Haoliang, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Director of the Regional Bureau ofAsia and Pacific
The Government of Denmark provided funding for the initial formulation of the project and a contribution of29.25 million DKK, equivalent of US$ 5.4 million, to UNDP for its implementation inGhana and Zambia. This implementation will be led by the Government of the two countries with the Ministry of Sciences and Technology as the Chinese counterpart institution, and support from the UNDP offices inBeijing, Accra and Lusaka……..
The project will help with achieving the objective of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) of the UN Secretary- GeneralBan Ki-Moon by increasing access to energy through off-grid and community-based electrification. Support will not be in the form of hardware transfer but instead will focus on creating conditions required to make adoption of renewable energy technologies more effective, removing barriers and strengthening local capacities to respond to national priorities and meet local needs. ……
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.www.undp.org http://prnw.cbe.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/new-initiative-boosts-renewable-energy-technology-transfer-between-china-and-ghana-and-zambia-with-undp-and-danish-development-assistance-as-catalysts.html
Nuclear plan incomprehensible http://www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/letters/2014/08/05/letter-nuclear-plan-incomprehensible Liz McDaid AUGUST 05 2014 THE Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (Safcei) shares the government and Eskom’s commitment to service the energy needs of the country and the poor in particular. We therefore find the growing emphasis on and commitment to nuclear energy incomprehensible on economic and moral grounds.
Following Eskom’s revelations to Parliament at the end of last month, Safcei believes that, financially, we cannot afford nuclear energy and calls on the Cabinet to abolish the nuclear focus and expand its renewable energy programme.
According to Eskom, 60% of our power stations are older than the recommended design age of 30 years, resulting in increased breakdowns and need for maintenance.
Life extensions and environmental retrofits will require between R50bn and R260bn. Eskom is looking to claw back additional revenue through more electricity tariff increases. Yet poor communities struggle to afford electricity right now.
According to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, we will find additional finances to build new nuclear energy plants. Given that the cost of nuclear has been put at R1-trillion, who will provide the money?
By contrast, globally, a record of 39GW of new solar photovoltaic capacity was installed last year, which required less financing than in 2012, when only 31GW was deployed. In South Africa, renewable energy plants have added 1,300MW to the grid in just less than two years (with a further 1,200MW expected by end of next year.).
As people of faith, we express our deep concern that our public policies are not in line with the best options for preserving our natural environment, saving energy and alleviating poverty. Safcei believes therefore that there is an ethical imperative to expand renewable energy, which is cheaper to build, has zero fuel costs and can provide sustainable, affordable energy for the people of South Africa.
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says she is hoping to appoint a CEO for Eskom in the next few weeks. If the government is serious about addressing the Eskom crisis, it needs to direct the utility to abandon 19th-century thinking and catch up with the 21st century.
We therefore call on Ms Brown to appoint someone who can consider the long-term energy needs of the country. Appointing a renewable energy expert as a CEO would be a good first step.
http://earthlife.org.za/2014/07/protesters-outside-nersa-public-hearing/“…………..protesters are concerned that South African consumers are not seeing the promised investment in social infrastructure because of the huge national debt being accumulated by Eskom. But one of the reasons for the debt is the cheap electricity supply deal that the power utility holds with Australian company BHB Billiton resulting in losses estimated at more than R11.5 billion. Lerato Maragele, Education and Outreach Officer at Earthlife Africa Jhb, explains that: “NERSA must investigate and widely publicise how lost Eskom revenue translates into electricity tariff increases for households.”
Thirdly, protesters are concerned by NERSA’s apparent inactivity on Eskom’s failure to build electricity power stations to budget and on time, and the resultant electricity price increases. “The mandate of NERSA is to promote the protection of the interests of vulnerable groups within the Electricity Supply Industry. The delays at Medupi and Kusile are causing a ripple effect throughout the whole supply chain and impacting on the most vulnerable consumers,” explains Dominique Doyle, Energy Policy Officer at Earthlife Africa Johannesburg.
CONTACTS:Earthlife Africa Johannesburg:
Senior Programme Manager
Tel (w): 011 339 3662
Mobile: 082 682 9177
Email: makoma [at] earthlife.org.za Dominique Doyle
Energy Policy Officer
Tel (w): 011 339 3662
Mobile: 079 331 2028
Email: dominique [at] earthlife.org.za
When uranium is ingested it is deposited in the kidneys, lungs, brain and bone marrow. The alpha particles – which contain massive doses of energy – sit in these parts and damage the tissue around them. Because it is an endocrine disrupter, it increases the risk of fertility problems and reproductive cancer. Large doses are fatal, but the constant exposure to low levels has intergenerational effects that are still not fully understood
One man’s home is another man’s uranium dump, Mail & Guardian, Africa 18 JUL 2014 SIPHO KINGS With nowhere else to live, many seek refuge in the radiation wastelands in Gauteng, unaware of the deadly dangers the abandoned mining areas present……..Faded photographs in the town museum show people sunbathing and swimming in the lake in the 1980s. There were bars, a jetty and a miniature putting course. Now only the foundations remain after it was closed because of the increasing concentration of uranium in Robinson Lake.
In the past it was a place for the residents of Randfontein – 50km west of Johannesburg – to relax on the weekend and forget their jobs in the mining industry. But in the late 1990s the underground mines started closing because the falling price of gold and uranium made them unprofitable. The mines were abandoned and the water levels inside started rising. Acid mine drainage began seeping into the dam, increasing the level of uranium to levels 220 times higher than the safe limit. The resort closed.
Deep into winter a chill breeze blows across the lake, creating ripples in the clear water. The surface is a stark blue reflection of the sky, with the bottom tainted red from the heavy metals in the water. No alga grow here, no fish swim, no underwater life ripples the surface.
The periphery of the lake is a wide ring of cracked yellow earth. The soil beyond is brown. There are 20m-high blue gum trees. There are yellow signs with “Radiation area – Supervised area” wired to the fence around the area and nailed to the trees.
The Witwatersrand gold seam runs for about 100km, from Randfontein in the west of Johannesburg to Springs in the east. A century of mining drove a mining boom, thanks to this being the world’s largest concentration of the precious metal.
Mine shafts up to 3km deep were sunk. The waste was dumped above ground in over 400 mine dumps or tailings dams that now dot the province. These contain a mixture of heavy metals, and an estimated 600 000 tonnes of uranium.
The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) says this is the only place in the world where large numbers of people live next to dumps full of uranium. Continue reading
Uranium games in Niger and the US-Franco competition Andrew Korybko for RT June 11, 2014 The West has actively been making multidimensional inroads into Africa over the past decade, largely of a malignant nature. The US and its NATO allies are interested in market potential, energy prospects, and military engagement…….
Altogether, the US and France are closely cooperating in the NATO militarization of Africa during the “Second Scramble”. Despite being somewhat different in their approaches, they represent “two hands from the same magician” working behind the scenes to advance the Western interest there. Concurrently, as can be seen by the NSA spying directed against European “allies”, Washington does not place full trust in those that it cooperates with. Therefore, it is fully in line with America’s established track record of deceit to hedge itself towards a position of guiding influence over its partners, specifically France. In the event that Paris’ ambitions for power get the best of it and it once more “goes rogue” from Atlantic command, the US will play the Nigerien uranium card to enact maximum pressure on the country and force it back into the unipolar fold. http://rt.com/op-edge/165092-west-africa-uranium-games/
“………My chief objection to nuclear power is precisely on the cost issue……….from 2008 to early 2010 nuclear costs were stated to be twice as much by nuclear power vendors than by the state. By early 2011, after a multitude of submissions by civil society, even the state admitted that it had undercosted nuclear power by about 40 percent and included a new estimate. The new estimate remained substantially lower than the two tenders submitted by suppliers.
Yet the amount of nuclear energy planned in the IRP II remains unchanged, despite the variation in costs. International experience rates the cost of constructing nuclear plants at about $6 000 (R63 500) per kilowatt hour.
The South African energy planning process calculated this cost as $3 000 in 2010 and $4 300 in 2011 – on what basis remains a mystery.
The second problem with assembling a budget for nuclear procurement is that the costs of waste disposal and decommissioning are of the same order as the cost of construction, but are beset by large uncertainties. For example, in the 2007/08 annual report and accounts of nuclear power generator British Energy, it was estimated the cost of decommissioning its eight plants was £9.4 billion (R167bn) and the cost of disposing of the spent fuel was £5.5bn.
Although we can estimate the order of magnitude, the actual costs are affected by the choice of technology. As such, it is important to include these costs in a tender since they deeply affect the final choice of bidder. So far these costs have not been included in South African energy planning.
As far as the cost of waste disposal is concerned, it has to be borne in mind that these costs have to be borne for a minimum of two and a half centuries before the waste can safely be neglected. Even a very small error in calculation can lead to very large divergences across this timespan. Under conventional accounting procedure, liabilities that must be met in the future should be discounted.
Effectively, this means that a sum of money (or assets of that value) is set aside now and it is assumed that money will earn interest and grow to meet the liability……..What happens if, as is the case in Germany and Japan, the interest rate is negative? It would mean we have to set aside more money now than will be required in the future.
This example demonstrates the point that the really difficult part of nuclear energy planning is that the amount it is going to cost is not knowable. Calculating the net present value of a 250-year expenditure would require that we could foresee the interest rate and the inflation rate for the next 250 years. But we are citizens, not soothsayers. Anybody who tells you they can predict these costs is talking through their hat. To any suggestion that we should give the approval anyway and trust officials to prevent any unreasonable cost overruns, I have but one word: Nkandla.
* Dr Yvette Abrahams works in the department of women and gender studies at University of the Western Cape and with Electricity Governance Initiative South Africa. http://www.iol.co.za/business/opinion/long-time-frames-and-dodgy-numbers-justify-worry-about-nuclear-power-s-cost-1.1700897#.U5oL1HJdUnk
Paladin to shut its uranium mine, Australian Mining, 27 May, 2014 Cole Latimer Paladin has announced it will cease production at its Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi. It comes after the miner advised it would place the operation in to care and maintenance earlier this year. According to Paladin it is ceasing production “due to reasons beyond the company’s control and related to the depressed uranium prices”. On May 21 it halted all operations at the mine, and will now cease supplying uranium to the global market, causing a drop of around 3.3 million pounds of supply per annum. “The outcome is an unfortunate but direct consequence of the continuing deterioration in the uranium price,” the company said in a statement. “Certain estimates now place up to 60% of current annual global production with costs above the current spot price, which is unsustainable.”…..http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/paladin-to-shut-its-uranium-mine
Niger, Areva in hard-won uranium deal, Yahoo 7 Finance, 26 May 14–The government of Niger and French nuclear energy group Areva announced on Monday that they had signed a deal to renew a decades-old agreement for the operation of two uranium mines.
Under the deal, negotiated for 18 months, Areva agreed that a 2006 mining law sharply increasing taxes on mineral extracted would apply to the Somair and Cominak operations in the north of the country which it partially controls.
“We have heard the government’s legitimate call for higher receipts coming from uranium,” said Luc Oursel, Areva CEO, on a visit to Niamey to sign the deal.
However, a joint statement said that the operations would be exempt from sales tax over the course of the five-year deal.
The revenue issue had been the main sticking point in the talks since the government considered that the previous contracts, which expired at the end of last year, were unfavourable to the country, the fourth-biggest producer of uranium in the world.
The French arm of charity Oxfam, which has been a sharp critic of state-controlled Areva’s uranium dealings with Niger, said the new deal continued to shortchange Nigeriens, who stood to lose “10 to 15 million euros a year.” ($13.6 to $20.5 million)……. https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/niger-areva-hard-won-uranium-085912953.html
Areva signs uranium deal with Niger, delays new mine May 27, 2014 By Abdoulaye Massalaki NIAMEY (Reuters) – French nuclear group Areva agreed to a reduction in tax breaks and a rise in royalty rates at its uranium mines in Niger on Monday but said the start of production at its giant new Imouraren mine would be delayed until prices improve……https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/23870138/areva-signs-uranium-deal-with-niger-delays-new-mine/
Poverty-stricken African nations exploited by mining companies, especially Australian uranium miners
THE SCRAMBLE FOR URANIUM IN AFRICA http://www.phantomreport.com/the-scramble-for-uranium-in-africa 19 May 14, Africa’s resources are extracted by outsiders, with benefits only reaching the involved non-African mining companies and non-African end-users of the commodity. Africa is the next frontier to meet energy needs. Oil and gas are being exploited as never before, exacerbating conflict in Darfur and Nigeria, social inequality in Angola, and environmental damage in Chad.
At the same time, renewed demand for uranium is being explored on the continent more than at any other time in history.
Yet the continent’s huge potential for renewable energy is not fully being realised. The government of Malawi granted a uranium mining licence to an Australian uranium mining company without having any legislation on the mining, handling and transportation of radioactive materials. Malawi is now home to twelve potential uranium mines.
In Niger mining companies from Australia, Canada, France and other parts of the world are scrambling for licences to explore uranium in a country which is already the world’s sixth producer of uranium. In the Central African Republic (CAR) there is a scramble amongst Chinese, American and French companies which are all interested in mining the Bakouma region.
In Tanzania the Australian Omega Corp obtained the Mkuju River concessions through its subsidiary, Mantra Resources. Other Australian juniors are represented in Tanzania, including Sabre Resources, Goldstream Mining, Uranex and Deep Yellow.
In Zambia, the Australian Energy Ventures through its subsidiary Africa Energy Resources started drilling the Kariba Valley in May 2008. Another Australian enterprise, Albion Ltd,, is also undertaking exploration.
Nigeria to get $6bn nuclear plant in 2022 – commission PUNCH, MAY 15, 2014 BY OLUSOLA FABIYI The Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission has revealed that the country will get a nuclear plant in 2022 at a cost of $6b dollars.
The Director, Human Resources of the commission, Professor Simon Mallam, who stated this on Thursday when he appeared before the national conference committee on Energy, also urged the Federal government to explore and develop all sources of energy available in the country…..Mallam further advised that although the country wasted a little time in the nuclear arena, it would still be able to deliver nuclear power by 2022 if the enabling environment and support could be given….http://www.punchng.com/news/nigeria-to-get-6bn-nuclear-plant-in-2022-commission/
With smart planning and prudent investment, all African countries can reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and leapfrog into a sustainable future. And, as Africa makes the transition to renewable energy in the coming years, new projects will provide much-needed jobs and power economic growth………Irena’s initiative encourages the deployment of hydro, geothermal, biomass, wind and solar options from Cairo to Cape Town to increase capacity, stabilise the grid, and reduce fossil fuel dependency. It is a regional approach, promoting international cooperation across countries of the eastern and southern African power pools to develop vast energy resources, optimise the energy mix and attract more investment. The plan identifies development zones to cluster renewable plants in areas with high potential, resource planning, new financing models and knowledge and capacity building.
This week, as we convene for the Abu Dhabi Ascent, we are welcoming many African ministers who have engaged with us on this project.
The Africa Clean Energy Corridor is one of the many concrete steps needed that offer a cost-effective, economically viable solution to the climate challenge that lies ahead of us.
With the right combination of policy, investment and rapid deployment, we can make substantial progress in decarbonising the world’s energy mix while generating growth and employment. http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/renewable-energy-will-power-africas-ambitious-future#ixzz30tYRkXQl
- 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES
- business and costs
- climate change
- indigenous issues
- marketing of nuclear
- opposition to nuclear
- politics international
- Religion and ethics
- secrets,lies and civil liberties
- weapons and war
- 2 WORLD
- MIDDLE EAST
- NORTH AMERICA
- SOUTH AMERICA
- Christina's notes
- Christina's themes
- rare earths
- resources – print
- Resources -audiovicual