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Mahlobo must accept death knell of South Africa’s Nuclear Deal – Gavin Davis

Mahlobo must accept death knell of Nuclear Deal – Gavin Davis, Politics Web, Gavin Davis | 22 February 2018

DA MP says President must stop the gazetting of Integrated Resource Plan
Nuclear Deal: Ramaphosa must stop the gazetting of the Integrated Resource Plan

22 February 2018

Minister Gigaba’s Budget Speech, which contained no funding for a new nuclear build, should signal the death knell of the nuclear deal.

The time has come for Minister Mahlobo to accept that his attempt to deliver the nuclear deal has failed. With Zuma gone, he has outlasted his usefulness and should be removed from Cabinet without delay.

The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), that was apparently approved by the Zuma Cabinet in December, left the door open for a new nuclear build. This was despite every credible study rejecting new investment in nuclear as part of the IRP and recommending investment in renewables and gas instead.

We call on President Ramaphosa to put a stop to the gazetting of Mahlobo’s IRP. Instead, Minister Mahlobo should be removed from office and a new Minister appointed to ensure that the new IRP is based on the latest cutting-edge modelling and research……..

We need an IRP that favours clean, reliable energy at the lowest cost. We don’t need a nuclear deal and, as Minister Gigaba has made clear, we cannot afford it. So let’s shut the door on this corrupt nuclear deal once and for all. http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politics/nuclear-deal-mahlobo-must-accept-death-knell–gavi

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February 24, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Not just Russian but ANY nuclear new-build is a poor choice for South Africa

South Africa’s Electricity Choice, Part 4: The dangers of dealing with Russia, Daily Maverick, ANTON EBERHARD & AMORY LOVINS, SOUTH AFRICA, 19 FEB 2018 

Read parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series here, here and here

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Courts may have struck down the nuclear agreement between South Africa and Russia but ministers in the Zuma government have indicated they are not done discussing nuclear power and Russian involvement. This is of major concern to many – not only because of a possible compromise in SA’s national sovereignty and independence but also due to the ulterior motives Russia might have due to its economic troubles and the dubious need to build nuclear power plants despite lacking the capital to finance it.

Procurement and financial risks

South African officials have made a wide range of statements in the past few years about whether the government intends a “fair, transparent and competitive procurement process”, or a process with that form but not its substance (as vendors may expect), or an opaque direct negotiation between the South African government and another government, most likely that of the Russian Federation. During a series of private presidential meetingsover the past seven years, these two countries concluded an unusually strong and specific nuclear agreement. It gave Russia a veto over South Africa’s nuclear co-operation with any other country, enabled Russia to withhold any data it wishes from public scrutiny, exempted Russia from any accident liability and promised Russia favourable tax and financial treatment. While denying favouritism, South Africa did not appear to have offered similar terms to any other potential partner. Though the April 2017 decision of the Western Cape High Court set aside this agreement, officials have continued to imply that a nuclear deal with the Russians is likely……..

 is Russia a credible and reliable financial partner? Its National Wealth Fund, estimated at $72-billion, is under pressure; by early 2015 it was already overextended by $24-billion pledged to finance nuclear exports to four countries. (Those included the Hungarian Paks nuclear deal, whose low-interest loan commitment helped crash Russia’s foreign-trade bank needing an $18-billion bailout.) About another $64-billion would be needed to fulfil other offers already extended. And even that couldn’t go far if more than a handful of deals were like the proposed Bangladeshi Rooppur plant mentioned above – 90% financed ($12-billion) at 2.55 percent annual interest with a 10-year grace period, then an 18-year repayment.

Rosatom, the self-regulated state nuclear enterprise, is led by a former prime minister reporting to President Vladimir Putin and exempted from all normal state controls. Independent experts agree that Rosatom (or any other state entity) would be lucky to build half the 30 additional nuclear projects it’s trying to sell for $300-billion to a dozen more countries including South Africa. Russia’s interest rate in early 2016 was twice (and in an earlier spike, over three times) what any coal-competitive nuclear project would require. The Russian state’s capacity to absorb the spread is quickly vanishing. Russia’s domestic reactor starts halved in 2015; all state nuclear subsidies are to halt in 2016. Yet without those subsidies, “Rosatom wouldn’t complete a single project anywhere”.

Russia needs huge amounts of outside capital to finance its nuclear commitments. …….

Not just Russian but any nuclear new-build is a poor choice for South Africa. It cannot compete with efficiency and renewables, by every relevant measure: cost, timeliness, financing, jobs, economic development, environmental and safety risk, independence, security, abundance of eternally free local energy sources, and the social good of “energy democracy”. These goals support and are advanced by the agenda of “an electricity sector that will deliver, transparently, competitively, reliably and sustainably, the electric services that will power economic growth and improve the welfare of all our people”.

It has come to this: ever more sales-starved nuclear vendors, seeking ever less solvent customers, now offer a risky project the seller can’t finance to a customer who can’t pay – a customer with no need, enchanted by the same nuclear devotees whose broken promises already cost the nation dearly, and with no apparent accountability.

South Africans deserve, and politics or markets will ultimately deliver, reliable and affordable electrical services – enough, for all, for ever. At issue is how much money, time and opportunity for national advancement will be lost before South Africa finally abandons the folly of procuring new nuclear power plants.    https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-02-19-south-africas-electricity-choice-part-4-the-dangers-of-dealing-with-russia/#.WoyRylpubGg

 

February 21, 2018 Posted by | politics, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment

Hopes that South Africa’s new president will scrap nuclear deal

Greenpeace Africa hopes Ramaphosa will scrap nuclear deal https://www.iol.co.za/business-report/energy/greenpeace-africa-hopes-ramaphosa-will-scrap-nuclear-deal-13320867 16 FEBRUARY 2018 CAPE TOWN – “We trust that president Cyril Ramaphosa will listen to the massive opposition from the South African public and leave the dodgy nuclear deal far behind,” Greenpeace Africa said on Friday.

The South African civil society groups and opposition parties have been pushing back on government’s plan to add 9 600 megawatts of electricity to the grid through nuclear plants.

Happy Khambule, the political advisor at Greenpeace Africa notes that there is a tough job ahead for the new leadership of the country. “We believe one of the most pressing issues is to start to create stability, increase trust in the country’s government, and to choose a new pathway in establishing transparency and accountability in the energy sector”.

In an interview with the eNCA, Khambule has said that they will utilize all communication platforms at their availability to engage with the relevant government departments in ensuring that Greanpeace influences Ramaphosa’s decisions on energy matters.

Greenpeace Africa also looks forward to the new Integrated Resource Plan and calls on Ramaphosa to “stop that coal”.

Khambule feels that there was a distant relationship between the former president Jacob Zuma and the energy advocacy groups.

“It is time to remove the barriers to renewable energy, which can enable the achievement of universal access to energy and power disadvantaged communities much faster and at a cost South Africans can afford. We call on the President to push ahead with a renewable-powered future that will not leave South Africans in the dark,” this organisation said in a statement.

Ramaphosa recently commented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, that South Africa had “excess power right now and we have no money to go for major nuclear plant building”.

Melita Steele, the senior campaign manager at Greenpeace Africa said, “Greenpeace has long argued that nuclear is never safe, and is simply unaffordable”.

She further said that the organisation looks forward to the updated IRP without the inclusion of crushing nuclear energy investments.

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa will soon elect his new cabinet and the Energy Minister, David Mahlobo is unlikely to retain his position, according to lobby groups and economists.

Wayne Duvenage, the CEO of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse told Business Report that Mahlobo has limited experience on energy and his appointment as the Energy Minister was based on Zuma’s interest in speeding up the nuclear deal with Russia. “Ramaphosa will be problematic with him in this regard”.

February 17, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Russia marketing nuclear power to Congo

Russia and Congo to cooperate in nuclear power, WNN, 14 February 2018    Rosatom and the Ministry of Scientific Research and Technological Innovations of the Republic of Congo have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The document was signed yesterday in Moscow by the Russian state nuclear corporation’s deputy director general for international relations, Nikolay Spassky, and the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Congo in Russia, David Maduka.

The document establishes a legal basis for the implementation of bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas, Rosatom said. These include the development of nuclear infrastructure in the Republic of Congo and programmes aimed at increased awareness of nuclear technologies and their applications…..http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-Russia-and-Congo-to-cooperate-in-nuclear-power-14021801.html

February 16, 2018 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Warning to South Africa – on nuclear dependence to Russia

Chasing nuclear energy could lead to capture – expert https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/chasing-nuclear-energy-could-lead-to-capture-expert-13222078 11 FEBRUARY 2018  Cape Town – A leading oil and gas lawyer and African entrepreneur has warned South Africa against pursuing nuclear energy, saying any proposed deal might come with political pressure which could lead to “capture”.

NJ Ayuk, who is widely recognised as one of the top influential businessman in the sector globally, said there was no reason for South Africa to consider nuclear energy and instead it should invest in clean renewable energy to create jobs and grow its economy.

Ayuk said the consideration for nuclear could lead to the country succumbing to external pressures.

“We need to stop having short-term fixes to our challenges. If we continue to look to other powers for solutions, we will have to succumb to what they want. Is that what South Africa wants?” he asked.

With South Africa’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN’s Security Council this year, Ayuk warned if the country were to consider nuclear energy and partner with another country, this would diminish its position on the influential body.

Speculation about South Africa seeking partnership with Russia has come to the fore over the past year, with the government denying that a deal had been made.

“Do you want a member of the Security Council that’s dependent on another country for its energy security and needs? Africa needs a representative that will articulate its views and not one that will be perceived to be captured by another strong power,” he said.

For decades South Africa relied on coal for electricity and synthetic fuel production but needs to look at other energy sources to meet its climate change commitments.

Recent studies have also shown a decline in global demand for coal.

“Renewable energy must be the core part of the energy mix as it has the potential to alleviate poverty. We need to put in the right investment in it. It will create jobs and allow small businesses to participate in the sector,” he said.

He said the country and other African countries endowed with mineral resources should start looking at establishing an enabling environment for investments and growth in the sector.

Ayuk said the political change in South Africa gave hope that there would be a re-focus on the energy sector and that “homegrown” solutions for energy problems would be found.

“We have to be futuristic. It doesn’t help any country to have big projects and the skills cannot be found within it because jobs are not created or if they are they are low skilled jobs”, Ajuk said.

He also advocated better management of mineral resources throughout the continent and better frameworks to “empower communities”.

“Africa needs to start thinking of sharing skills and expertise to create intra-trade. We have the technology in most of the countries, we need to enhance what we already have.”

February 12, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s nuclear decommissioning dilemma

Why decommissioning South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant won’t be easy The Conversation,  Hartmut Winkler, Professor of Physics, University of Johannesburg, January 26, 2018 

Africa’s only operational nuclear power plant is in an area called Koeberg, outside Cape Town in South Africa. The life span of the plant was originally meant to end in 2024. But after an upgrade it’s now expected to operate until around 2044.

In theory it could be shut down, or decommissioned, earlier than if, for example, there was a spike in anti-nuclear sentiment, it becomes unprofitable or a serious technical failure developed……

The funding for decommissioning, which is an expensive process, needs to be secured well in advance. Failing to decommission the site properly would saddle Cape Town with a dangerous radiation hazard for generations to come.

Responsibility for Koeberg’s site rehabilitation rests with its operator, the state electricity utility, Eskom. For now decommissioning Koeberg is not a priority for Eskom’s newly appointed board given its need to deal with the financial pressure and allegations of corruption the utility is facing.

But it will nevertheless need to start planning soon……….

All nuclear power plants accredited by the International Atomic Energy Agency must regularly set aside funds to finance the eventual decommissioning. By 2016, Eskom had paid R10.9 billion into a trust for this purpose.

But these provisions seem insufficient and the utility will probably need to raise additional funding to shut down Koeberg.

Eskom is responsible to pay for the site’s rehabilitation, but not for final waste disposal. The funding of that process ultimately becomes the responsibility of the state.

Waste from Koeberg

The arrangement is that low and intermediate-level nuclear waste is transported to a site called Vaalputs in sparsely populated Namakwaland, about 500 km north of Cape Town. High-level waste is kept on site in Koeberg in what are known as fuel pools.

South Africa doesn’t have storage facilities for its high-level waste. Like the rest of the world, construction of nuclear plants was initiated without a specific waste disposal plan, with the understanding that each country would manage and pay for it themselves.

Unfortunately South Africa is likely to approach decommissioning Koeberg in the same way other countries have done it – by effectively leaving the waste on site indefinitely in temporary storage facilities. This avoids the expense of waste processing as well as making difficult political decisions. But it passes the problem to future generations while continuing to expose the nuclear plant’s neighbourhood to contamination risk. This is a serious risk at Koeberg given that it’s a mere 30 km from the Cape Town city centre.

Koeberg’s decommissioning is an awkward reality that cannot be ignored for much longer. This should become the main focus for nuclear professionals in South Africa, rather than new plants. Eskom and other parties in the energy space need to develop detailed, credible decommissioning work plans with realistic costing scenarios and funding strategies. A crisis can be avoided, but only through early and proper planning. https://theconversation.com/why-decommissioning-south-africas-koeberg-nuclear-plant-wont-be-easy-89888

February 10, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s nuclear power should end -five reasons

Five facts that prove South Africa’s nuclear power plan should die  https://mg.co.za/article/2018-02-01-five-facts-that-prove-south-africas-nuclear-power-plan-should-die  Anton Eberhard 

Under the presidency of Jacob Zuma, South Africa has been trying to implement a massive new nuclear programme. The initiative stood against a growing body of evidence pointing to the fact that nuclear isn’t needed, is too costly and is hard to finance. There is also the fact that the case for renewables looks increasingly favourable than nuclear. And last year, civil society groups secured a court order that halted the nuclear build programme temporarily on grounds that government had not followed due consultative process.

But Zuma has insisted on the nuclear programme, going so far as to appoint a minister to the energy portfolio who continues to argue that the country needs nuclear energy. But the facts are still against him, as they were against the previous four ministers who failed to deliver Zuma’s nuclear project.

The argument against nuclear energy can be broken down into five key themes.

1. Large chunks of new power aren’t needed

South Africa has surplus energy capacity. Along with new capacity that is coming online, the country does not need nuclear power to meet electricity demand for many years, despite the scheduled closure of some old coal plants. In fact, demand has fallen in South Africa and is lower than it was a decade ago.

This is not simply a result of slow economic growth. Steep hikes in electricity prices have accelerated investments in energy efficiency and electricity savings.

The structure of South Africa’s economy is also changing with the energy-intensive primary sector declining and the tertiary and services sector accounting for a larger share of the economy.

2. Good news on renewables

At the same time, renewable energy prices have plummeted globally and rival or even undercut the operating costs of many existing nuclear or fossil-fuelled power stations. Within just one year (2016), world costs for new onshore windpower fell by 18%, for offshore wind by 28%, and for utility-scale photovoltaics (PV) by 17%, while low bids fell 37% for Mexican PV and 43% for EU offshore wind. In South Africa, transparent auctions have already cut solar PV electricity prices by close to 80% and wind energy by nearly 50%.

Government’s nuclear policy consistently cites as its analytic basis the Integrated Resource Plan(IRP) for Electricity 2010 to 2030, formally published in May 2011 and updated several times since then. But over this time, the economic rationale for nuclear, never particularly strong, has weakened considerably. So much so that nuclear energy is not picked in any South African modelling scenarios, other than one where artificial constraints are placed on how much solar and wind energy can be built and where additional carbon budget limits are imposed. Even in this extreme scenario, nuclear energy might only be required after 2039.

Instead, the models favour solar and wind plus gas as the cheapest option for sustainable electricity supply. Renewables also perform well on the question of reliability. A recent engineering studyconfirms that the South African power system will be sufficiently flexible to handle very large amounts of wind and solar power generation to cope with increased flexibility requirements.

3. Nuclear power is dying globally

Global nuclear enterprise is slowly dying from an incurable attack of market forces. Financial distress stalks vendors, with cascading insolvencies spreading in the past two years. Construction cost and delays keep rising worldwide.

The global nuclear industry continues to suffer major risks of project failure or abandonment. For example, of 259 US nuclear units ordered between 1955-2016, 128 (49%) were abandoned before start-up and 34 (13%) prematurely closed later. Of the 97 units (37%) operating in mid-2017, 49 were deemed uneconomic to run; 35 suffered 45 year-plus safety-related outages. And only 28 units (11%) remain economically viable.

By contrast, renewable energy is dominating new investment in power generation worldwide. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates renewable energy will capture 72% of global power generation investment by 2040 as costs drop by a further 66% for solar power, 47% for onshore wind, and 71% for inshore wind plants.

China has generated more wind power than nuclear electricity since 2012. India has quadrupled its renewables target and is planning 100 GW of solar power (now cheaper than coal power) by 2022. Over three billion people now get more non-hydro renewable than nuclear electricity, in three of the world’s four top economies (China, Germany, Japan) and in Brazil, India, Mexico, Holland, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

4. Renewable energy is good for business

The International Renewable Energy Agency has found that worldwide, doubling renewables’ energy share by 2030 could raise global GDP up to 1.1%, improve welfare up to 3.7%, and support over 24 million renewable-energy jobs.

In South Africa, important economic benefits have already been seen due to renewable energy initiatives. These have created a total of 32 532 job years.

Renewable energy projects also aid development in previously marginalised and disadvantaged groups and communities. Thanks to novel economic development criteria built into South Africa’s world-recognised renewable energy independent power producer programme. Black South Africans own, on average, 31% of projects that have reached completion. Black local communities further own on average 11% of the equity of projects.

5. The Russians can’t be trusted

The above facts demonstrate that nuclear lacks a business case for South Africa, whichever country provides the technology. But there is special cause for concern about South Africa’s proposed nuclear deal with Russia. During a series of private presidential meetings over the past seven years, South Africa concluded an unusually strong and specific nuclear agreement with Russia, since struck down by the courts.

Concerns are several. Firstly, a deal which makes South Africa dependent on Russia for a large share of electricity supply – as well as for nuclear safety – must raise serious questions about South African national sovereignty and independence.

Additionally, Russia is facing economic challenges, sliding in terms of rated world economies to number 15, below Mexico. Sovereign debt is a real concern and low oil prices and Western sanctions in response to Russia’s aggression towards the Ukraine and other areas are making matters worse.

Russia wants to build nuclear power plants but needs huge amounts of capital to finance its nuclear commitments around the world. It hardly appears to be a stable financial partner.

A rational choice is needed

South Africans deserve reliable and affordable electrical services. At issue is how much money, time, and opportunity for national advancement will be lost before the country finally abandons the folly of procuring new nuclear power plants.

Amory Lovins, chief scientist at Rocky Mountain Institute, co-authored this article.

Anton Eberhard, Professor at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

 

February 2, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Nuclear fraud in Nigeria

INVESTIGATION: At Nigeria’s abandoned nuclear centre, failed projects, idle staff and ‘fraud’ [Part 2] Premium Times, Kemi Busari Awarded at over N400 million in 2009, what was supposed to be a radioactive waste management facility at Nigeria’s Nuclear Technology Centre never came to life.

Instead, a building overgrown with scrubs lies east of the gamma irradiation facility. Waste management plants and equipment comprise various devices and machines used for treating, converting, disposing and processing wastes from various sources.

The construction of low/medium radioactive waste management facility was awarded at the contract sum of N401.4 million to Commerce General Limited and so far, N312 million has been paid to the contractor, the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) said in response to a Freedom of Information request made over a month ago.

The project, according to NAEC, was 78 percent complete and has “only suffered delays.”

“The project was not abandoned. It only suffered delays due to factors outside the control of the commission,” the agency said.

The delays, NAEC said, include; “inadequate funding of capital projects generally, over the years, modification of the original design, as recommended by IAEA experts, which has resulted into changes in the BOQ figures and this development is being discussed with the contractor,” and also, “no outstanding Interim Payment Certificate on the project.”

A staff of the NTC, who was privy to the contract and execution since 2009, said the project had been used to embezzle money from government since the time of award.

“It is true that they changed the plan of the plant but they’ve never done anything meaningful there since they mounted these blocks,” he said.

“The contractor is not qualified and along the line, he got stuck in the project and we’ve not seen or heard about him for many years now.”

PREMIUM TIMES’ efforts to reach the management of Commerce Nigeria Limited were unsuccessful as the company has no website or any visible record.

Its recorded address at Plot 3, Railway Avenue, Kachia Road, Kakuri, Kaduna South, Kaduna, does not exist, this paper found out during a visit there.

“We’ve never heard of that place,” several residents of Kachia told this reporter after attempts were made to locate the company.

In Nigeria, it is not uncommon for ‘brief case’ contractors, most times in connivance with the awarding entity, to register a company for the sole purpose of bidding for contracts and making quick money.

As alleged by staff of the centre, this may be the case as even the figures quoted in FOI response by NAEC are contradictory.

While the commission said the project was 78 percent complete, a visit to the facility told a different story: an expanse of land overgrown with weeds and a construction no way near half-way complete which, in no way, justified the commission’s claim of paying almost 80 percent of the total contract sum to the contractor.

If the contract was awarded at N401. 4 million and N312 million had been paid so far, the balance should be about N89 million. But NAEC quoted N329 million.

‘Abandoned’ nuclear instrumentation laboratory

One of the components of the masterplan of the centre is the nuclear instrumentation laboratory which is supposed to serve as workshop for students, researchers and others in the nuclear field.

The project was awarded at the cost of N829.6 million to Trois Associate Limited in 2012 and it is 68% complete, NAEC’s response to an FOI stated………….

Nigeria joined IAEA, an international body for cooperation in the nuclear field in promoting safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies, in 1964.

The IAEA safety standards, was enshrined to ensure protection of people and the environment against radiation risks, safety of facilities and activities that give rise to radiation risks. The world body recognised this to include, safety of nuclear installations, radiation safety, the safety of radioactive waste management and safety in the transport of radioactive material.

The world body listed some fundamentals which must be observed by member states in section 3.30 of the safety standard………

As presented in the first part of this story, PREMIUM TIMES investigation has revealed that the centre has violated the core of safety principles expected at the centre and thus, risk withdrawal of its license……..https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/256828-investigation-nigerias-abandoned-nuclear-centre-failed-projects-idle-staff-fraud-part-2.html

January 29, 2018 Posted by | Nigeria, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Not easy, nor cheap, to shut down South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant

The Conversation 25th Jan 2018, Why decommissioning South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant won’t be easy.
Koeberg has two units, each generating 930 MW, which contribute about 4% of
South Africa’s power capacity. They were built by French developer
Framatome, now called Areva.

Researchers in France, Germany and the UK have
calculated widely different costs for nuclear cleanups (including waste
disposal) in their countries. The potential cost of decommissioning a site
comparable to Koeberg according to the French costing model would be R8.4
billion. Some analysts say this is unrealistically low. The German model
puts the number at around R39 billion and the UK model at R76 billion.
https://theconversation.com/why-decommissioning-south-africas-koeberg-nuclear-plant-wont-be-easy-89888

January 27, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa has no money for nuclear power: Ramaphosa

SA has no money for nuclear power: Ramaphosa, ENC.com, SOUTH AFRICA, JOHANNESBURG – “We have excess power right now and we have no money to go for major nuclear plant building.”

January 26, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Under the Russian wing, Zambia becomes a Rosatom nuclear power customer

Zambia establishes an Interim Secretariat on Nuclear Science and Technology, Lusaka Times, January 23, 2018, Government has established an Interim Secretariat on Nuclear Science and Technology (ISNST) constituted by senior officers from various Government Ministries and Institutions. The Units under the ISNST include Nuclear Applications, Public Awareness and Consultation, Economics Assessment, Legal and Regulatory, and Programme Development.

The ISNST will spearhead implementation of Zambian’s nuclear energy programme as well as the development of the Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST). The officers have since commenced work, which among others, will involve public awareness and consultations……..Government is hopeful that the nuclear energy programme will transform the country into an industrial hub in the region. A group of students have already been sent to Russia to study in various areas of nuclear science, who upon completing their studies would work in the CNST.

Government has since signed various agreements with the Russian Federation that have culminated into the implementation of the nuclear energy programme………

The ISNST has embarked on a robust public sensitisation programme beginning with Members of the Cabinet and Members of Parliament. https://www.lusakatimes.com/2018/01/23/zambia-establishes-interim-secretariat-nuclear-science-technology/

January 24, 2018 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

International Atomic Energy Agency getting desperate? Hopes to get Uganda buying nuclear power.

Uganda pushes for nuclear energyBy Vision Reporter, New Vision, 18th January 2018 People are not aware that you can use nuclear very peacefully for the well-being of humanity,Museveni said. KAMPALA – President Yoweri Museveni has said that unless solar becomes a cheaper alternative source of clean energy, Africa and Uganda in particular will have to use nuclear energy to improve the welbeing of its people…….The main issue is energy resource. Nuclear is clean energy, better than fossil fuels…….Museveni was meeting the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano at State House Entebbe on Wednesday. ……
The DG Yukiya Amano said as IAEA, they are doing a lot in making nuclear energy for peaceful use and is already supporting Uganda in implementing projects that use nuclear for peaceful purposes for the wellbeing of the people………
He said it is no longer the energy for only developed countries. Despite it requiring a lot of preparations, it is important that the transfer of technology from IAEA to other countries to increase on the welfare of the people…….The important issues are; public acceptance, money and technology. IAEA is very happy to work with you and help you at every level,” he said………https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1469249/uganda-pushes-nuclear-power

January 19, 2018 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing | Leave a comment

Clear danger of South Africa’s energy company Eskom defaulting on its debt

S&P Sees ‘Clear Danger’ of Default by South Africa’s Eskom, Bloomberg, By Loni Prinsloo, January 18, 2018, 

  • Yields on Eskom’s dollar bonds climb after Reuss’s comments
  • Finance Minister Gigaba says Eskom is his ‘biggest worry’
  • There is a “clear danger” that South Africa’s state-owned power utility, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., could default on its debt, S&P Global Ratings said.
  • “We are very concerned about liquidity issues,” Konrad Reuss, the managing director of S&P for sub-Saharan Africa, said at an event in Johannesburg Thursday.
  • Eskom is the biggest recipient of state guarantees at a time when domestic power demand is the lowest in more than 10 years and as South Africa’s finances buckle under lower tax revenue and rising debt. The company needs 20 billion rand ($1.6 billion) of funding by the end of its fiscal year on March 31, the Mail & Guardian newspaper reported last week, citing the utility…….. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-18/s-p-sees-clear-danger-of-default-by-south-africa-s-eskom

January 19, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, South Africa | Leave a comment

Growing concerns on the safety and feasibility of Kenya’s planned Sh2 trillion nuclear energy project

Kenya’s nuclear quest: A case of extreme optimism? As the country moves towards the reality of nuclear energy by 2027, questions on expertise and safety concerns abound. Daily Nation, 2 Jan 17 “………While the government brags that over 60 per cent of the country’s population has access to power, unreliable power supply and frequent power outages steal the thunder from this achievement, pushing the government into overdrive to boost power production.One of the strategies is to put up a nuclear energy plant by 2027, in a fervent push to lower the country’s energy deficit and electricity tariffs.

The project will cost a staggering Sh2 trillion begging the question of whether it will lower energy tariffs and still remain afloat.

January 3, 2018 Posted by | Kenya, safety | Leave a comment

Nuclear power for Kenya: an expensive and unrealistic dream

Why Kenya’s push for nuclear power rests on false or fanciful premises, Mail and Guardian, Brendon J. Cannon Kenya wants to go nuclear. Since 2012, Nairobi has been talking the talk and walking the walk. It has engaged the International Atomic Energy Agency and signed multilateral letters of intent in pursuit of nuclear power.

To date, Kenya reportedly has memoranda of understanding with Russia, China, South Korea and Slovakia which involve the building of four nuclear power plants with a total output of 4 000 MW. France is apparently also eyeing the potentially lucrative deals which would nearly double Kenya’s current electricity capacity.

Kenya’s Nuclear Electricity Board secured the global atomic energy agency’s approval in 2016. It hopes to have the first plant online anywhere from 2022 to 2027, leading a new African push for nuclear power. The only country currently generating nuclear is South Africa……..

The cost of the Kenya plant is estimated at Sh500 billion. This is costly and, given the current energy consumption patterns in Kenya, would be a massive waste of money.

 Kenya’s industrial and consumer demand, economic growth, relative poverty as well as the current grid and distribution network simply do not support this magnitude of power generation at such exorbitant costs.

Myths about Kenya’s power situation

According to the popular narrative, Kenya suffers from the twin evils of electricity that is overly expensive and in short supply. Yet there is strong evidence that Kenya’s power is relatively cheap and that successive governments have exaggerated both it’s economic growth trajectory and its need for a massive increase in power generation.

For example, Kenya has an installed capacity of just over 2 400MW, against a peak demand of just over 1 600MW. This is 800MW above peak hours demand.

While economies are required to have surplus power capacity, excess capacity can lead to higher power bills as consumers are often charged for idle power plants.

Thus the government, while promising ever cheaper power to consumers may actually be undercutting this promise in its pursuit of nuclear power plants and other costly projects that fail to reflect both industrial and private consumer demand.

Note of caution

A recent study by a German engineering consultancy further confirmed how exaggerated government figures about demand have been. It noted that Kenya’s maximum power demand would

grow 72% to 2 259MW by 2020 from the current 1 620MW, when projects such as the standard gauge railway start operating fully.

Government estimates, on the other hand, project peak demand will jump threefold to 4 755 megawatts in the three-year period. This is twice as much as the consultant’s estimates.

On top of this, Kenya’s problem isn’t that it needs more energy. Rather it needs to address distribution issues.

Any project involving the generation of more power needs to pay equal attention to Kenya’s grid and distribution system which currently can’t handle additional power. This includes corresponding efforts at regular, systematic maintenance work. Without these, any extra power generated from renewable and other energy sources will remain costly and wasted.

Yet another note of caution is in order. Demand from Kenya’s domestic consumers remains low even though a total of 5.8 -million customers now have connections to power – a five-fold increase in the past seven years.

Why is this the case?

Neither a lack of connectivity nor an unreliable supply is to blame for the low consumption of electricity by the vast majority of Kenyan consumers. Nor is it because of reportedly relatively high electricity tariffs.

Rather, it is simply because the majority of Kenyans still have low income levels. Many Kenyans simply cannot afford the luxury of modern appliances for cooking, heating or refrigerating.

This simple fact has neither been figured into government prognostications nor donor-driven last-mile connectivity scenarios………

Adding extremely expensive nuclear power to Kenya’s energy mix along with power from other inadvisable projects such as the Lamu coal power plant is arguably inexcusable as well as profligate. Lamu is expected to produce 5 000MW of power within a period of three years.

As such, Kenya needs to work overtime to set a power generation agenda that identifies real versus perceived needs. The country’s electricity agenda must not be driven by estimated consumption figures that fail to correspond to the true energy needs. In the words of a former Kenyan energy official,

It does not take much effort to notice the gap between what is on paper and the economic reality.

Brendon J. Cannon, Assistant Professor of International Security, Department of Humanities and Social Science, Khalifa University

This article was originally published on The Conversation    https://mg.co.za/article/2017-12-20-why-kenyas-push-for-nuclear-power-rests-on-false-or-fanciful-premises

December 22, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Kenya | Leave a comment