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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

South Africa’s Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson ordered to pay punitive costs in nuclear case

joemat-pettersson-tinaSouth Africa: Court Orders Punitive Costs Against Minister in Nuclear Case http://allafrica.com/stories/201612150392.html By Ashleigh Furlong, 14 Dec 16   Minutes before hearing, ministry reveals new determination on nuclear energy

The Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson has been ordered by the Western Cape High Court to pay punitive costs including the costs of four counsel for Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI) after the state brought forward new evidence minutes before the case was set to begin.

A court orders punitive costs usually when it is dissatisfied with the conduct of a litigant. This is rare and is considered a strong rebuke.

The respondents in the case are the Minister of Energy, the president, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) as well as two representatives from Parliament.

Yesterday, the case began with a postponement until February 2017, as it was revealed mere minutes before the hearing was to begin that the Minister had made a new nuclear energy determination – replacing a decision that was gazetted last December.

Part of the relief sought by Earthlife and SAFCEI was for the old decision to be declared invalid. They also want the court to declare invalid the agreement between South Africa and Russia, as well as the tabling in Parliament of the deals with the USA and Korea.

  The new decision now states that Eskom, not the Department of Energy – as was the case in the old determination – will be the procurement agency for 9,600 megawatts of nuclear energy.

“Despite it being signed on 5 December 2016, the Court was not informed thereof and neither were the applicants – until literally minutes before the hearing was to begin. The Court stressed in its judgment that there was no evidence presented to the court explaining how this determination came about, when it was decided upon and the processes leading thereto, despite the Determination apparently having been made more than a week before the hearing,” says a statement issued by Earthlife and SAFCEI.

The South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC) has also expressed concern over the new determination, saying that it was “seemingly rushed through” on the basis of “the very outdated Integrated Resource Plan published in 2010”.

“We are further disheartened by Eskom’s Acting CEO’s simultaneous announcement that the utility will release a nuclear Request for Proposals as soon as the determination is gazetted,” says Brenda Martin, Chair of SAREC in the statement.

“SAREC believes that this irrational behaviour fans the flames of suspicion as to the real motives behind the nuclear campaign. Facts, logic and basic financial prudence simply do not support this determination,” says the statement.

Earthlife and SAFCEI wanted the request for proposals to be halted until the court case was finalised. However, the court ruled that Eskom was allowed to go ahead with the process.

December 17, 2016 Posted by | Legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

Another delay in South Africa’s troubled move towards new nuclear reactors

Nuclear RFI delayed once again  Release postponed ‘to brief minister’. Money Web , Antoinette Slabbert  /  15 December 2016 Moneyweb has just learnt that Eskom will not release the highly-anticipated nuclear Request for Information (RFI) on Thursday, despite widely-published undertakings by its acting CEO Matshela Koko to that effect.

According to South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) chair Dr Kelvin Kemm, the documents were signed off by him and Eskom chair Dr Ben Ngubane on Thursday morning and were ready for release. A further cooperation agreement between Eskom and Necsa was also signed.

Eskom and Necsa have been tasked by government to jointly manage the procurement of the country’s 9 600 MW new nuclear build programme.

Kemm said Eskom’s shareholder representative, public enterprise minister Lynne Brown, however requested a personal briefing on the matter, since she has not been closely involved in the nuclear procurement planning……http://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/industry/breaking-nuclear-rfi-delayed-once-again/

December 16, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, South Africa | Leave a comment

Earthlife Africa takes legal action to stop South Africa’s nuclear power plan

legal actionEarthlife Africa goes to court to halt SA’s bid for nuclear power http://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/2016/12/13/earthlife-africa-goes-court-halt-sas-bid-nuclear-power/
In a David versus Goliath battle which could determine the country’s energy future‚ an NGO will be in the Cape Town High Court on Tuesday to try halt government’s nuclear procurement deal.

In an affidavit submitted to the court‚ Earthlife Africa argues that government’s agreement with Russia to supply South Africa with multiple nuclear power plants is both unlawful and unconstitutional.

The procurement deal would be the largest in the country’s history at an estimated R1-trillion‚ and would see the building of a “nuclear fleet” that would generate nearly 10GW of power.

In September 2014‚ Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson signed an agreement with Russia on strategic partnership and cooperation in the fields of nuclear power and industry‚ which was then authorised by President Jacob Zuma.

The agreement was tabled before Parliament in June 2015.

In the affidavit‚ Earthlife branch coordinator Phillipine Lekalakala stated that the deal was unlawful‚ and should be reviewed and set aside. “The decision to proceed with procuring these nuclear power plants… has occurred without any of the necessary statutory and constitutional decisions having been lawfully taken‚” said Lekalakala.

“The minister and the National Energy Regulator of SA were obligated to have determined that new generation capacity is required and that the electricity must be generated from nuclear power in terms of the Energy Regulations Act (ERA).”

“No ERA requirement decision or ERA nuclear procurement system decision has been taken.”

The state opposed the application saying that the nuclear programme was a policy direction adopted by government to establish a self-sufficient nuclear industry for the industrialisation and development of the country.

The deputy director-general of the Department of Energy‚ Zizamele Mbambo‚ said that‚ as part of the nuclear programme‚ the energy and electricity needs of the country would be provided for.

“This policy direction allows the country to discharge its international obligation to reduce CO2 emissions from our historical fleet of coal-driven power stations‚” Mbambo said.

Earthlife and co-applicants in the matter‚ Southern African Faith Ministries’ Environment Institute‚ will be holding a demonstration outside the court on Tuesday. – TMG Digital/The Times

December 14, 2016 Posted by | Legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s renewable energy growing fast, despite Eskom’s efforts to scupper it

flag-S.AfricaIn South Africa, Nuclear Energy Is Becoming A Dirty Word  Forbes, Nishtha Chugh ,  13 Dec 16

State power utility Eskom is dragging its feet on honoring government-brokered deals with private renewables companies. Its refusal to purchase 250 megawatts of power from wind and solar projects has left its Irish and Saudi Arabian suppliers fuming and in limbo. More than scuppering the deals, Eskom’s actions, critically, threaten to undermine the gains made by the country’s green energy program, which many have come to hail as the shining beacon of a renewables-based future . On the Fieldstone Africa Renewable Index or FARI, South Africa’s ranking has plummeted off the charts entirely, prompting concerns amongst investors over green energy’s future in the country. Its decline is ironic given the rainbow nation had topped the continent-wide list just four months ago.

With a cluster of over 100 solar and wind projects South Africa is still currently home to the world’s fastest growing renewables program, generating 2.2 gigawatts of energy. According to FARI the country’s program has delivered enormous economic value for South Africa, attracting R196.4 billion ($14.4billion) in investments and created 20,000 jobs…….http://www.forbes.com/sites/nishthachugh/2016/12/13/in-south-africa-nuclear-energy-is-becoming-a-dirty-word/#3738ad892b37

December 14, 2016 Posted by | renewable, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa should dump nuclear power – Energy Minister’s advisers reveal

flag-S.AfricaEnergy minister’s advisers reveal why nuclear should be dumped News 24, Dec 07 2016 14:53  Matthew le Cordeur Cape Town – A Ministerial Advisory Council on Energy (Mace) working group report on South Africa’s future energy plan explains that by removing policy adjustments and keeping the plan at a least cost level, the need for nuclear energy falls away.

The report was presented by Mace member Mike Levington on Wednesday, as part of the Department of Energy’s (DoE’s)  public consultation workshop for the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and Integrated Energy Plan process……….

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown have come out in support of nuclear energy as a big part of the eventual IRP, but critics have warned that nuclear energy’s inclusion will be a political decision and not based on scientific fact.

The Mace report recommended that the “annual new-build limits for solar PV and wind should be removed” from the base case assumptions, Levington revealed.

“This unconstrained scenario … re-run with correct solar PV and wind cost assumptions, should form the least-cost base case of IRP 2016,” it explained.

“Step by step constraints or policy adjustments scenarios (for example annual new-build limits for solar PV and wind) should also be financially modelled and the total cost per year of such constrained scenarios compared with the revised least-cost Base Case to assess the cost effectiveness of such interventions,” it said.

The Mace committee said nuclear energy is not a least-cost option in the current 2010 IRP.

“In IRP 2010, nuclear was not the least-cost option,” they said. “It was a policy decision to include nuclear in the plan to cater for uncertainties around the forecasted cost reduction of renewables, as at the time it was unclear whether they would materialise in the magnitude and as quickly as anticipated in the IRP 2010.

“These adjustments led to the model building nuclear under very specific constraints, where the amount of required CO2-neutral electricity could not be supplied entirely by renewables because of these annual new-build limits.”

Looking ahead, it said a “least cost IRP model, free of any artificial constraints and before any policy adjustments, does not include any new nuclear power generators”.

“The optimal least cost mix is one of solar PV, wind and flexible power generators (with relatively low utilisation).”…….. http://www.fin24.com/Economy/energy-ministers-advisers-reveal-why-nuclear-should-be-dumped-20161207

December 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa will not review its nuclear power plans

Plan to go to market for nuclear proposals not open for review http://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/plan-to-go-to-market-for-nuclear-proposals-not-open-for-review-7140535 9 December 2016,  Emsie Ferreira Cabinet will not revisit its decision to endorse plans to proceed with a request for proposals to build new nuclear reactors, Presidency Minister Jeff Radebe said on Friday.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

No case for nuclear energy – South Africa’s civic rights organisation Outa

text-Noflag-S.AfricaOuta says there is no case for nuclear http://www.iol.co.za/business/news/outa-says-there-is-no-case-for-nuclear-7126828  / 8 December 2016,  Emsie Ferreira Cape Town – Civic rights organisation Outa on Thursday said it believed the case for building new nuclear energy reactors had been dismantled after the energy minister’s advisors told public hearings there were cheaper viable options.

“Following input provided by numerous entities at Wednesday’s Integrated Energy and Resource Plan (IEP and IRP) draft documents, Outa believes the rationale for any plans to introduce nuclear energy into South Africa’s electricity grid has been removed,” Outa’s portfolio director Ted Blom said.
He said the first day of hearings on the draft resource and energy blueprints had shown that they contained serious flaws in their assumptions of the prices of different energy technologies and that there was a need to for the IRP base case scenario to use the cheapest options. The base case scenario advanced in the IRP provides for South Africa to add 20 gigawatt of new nuclear energy by 2050 and Eskom has said it would it go to the market with a request for proposals by the end of the year still.
A team of experts that advised Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson challenged this conclusion and said their input was ignored.  Business Day reported that members of the panel of 40 experts told the hearings that the department’s decision to impose artificial constraints on how much renewable energy could be added to the grid, as well as outdated pricing had allowed nuclear into the model. Outa chairman Wayne Duvenhage said the hearings had already yielded valuable input for the final IRP and he did no see how it could support the government and Eskom’s plans for nuclear expansion.
“Personally, I cannot see how the final IRP-2016 document will be able to suggest the inclusion of even one kilowatt of energy being generated through nuclear. If nuclear energy is indeed forced into the system, the DOE’s credibility will come under serious scrutiny.” Outa has called on the department to allow more time for public submissions.
 “We remain concerned that the DOE is trying to force the process to be complete by the end of March 2017, which we believe will not be sufficient time,” Blom said.

 

December 9, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s new nuclear construction programme remains in doubt

Nuclear plan still uncertain, IOL, 4 Dec 16 Cape Town – The new nuclear construction programme remains in doubt as questions on funding remain unresolved by the government.

It appears that the National Treasury does not have the funds for the project despite Eskom pushing ahead with plans to publish the Request for Proposals this month and wanting to start implementation of the project in 2025.

Reports emerged last week that the government did not have the money to fund nuclear energy. It was reported that the Treasury had told Eskom that its R350 billion guarantee for its construction programme would not cover nuclear energy.

The portfolio committee on energy in the National Assembly said this week that it would appoint a panel of experts to investigate the costs and other implications for nuclear energy. The financing of nuclear power has been one of the sticking points for the programme.

The committee said the panel would conduct public hearings early next year. It would include experts who supported nuclear energy and those opposed to it.

President Zuma has said South Africa will undertake the nuclear programme if the scale and scope is affordable. It is this question of affordability that appears to throw the programme into a tailspin.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said last week that the Energy Department had undertaken a feasibility study to determine the cost of nuclear power.

Eskom has since been appointed by the cabinet to be the implementing agent of nuclear energy.

Recently Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko told journalists the nuclear programme would be implemented by 2025.

This flies in the face of the review by the Energy Department that postpones the implementation of the programme from 2022 to 2037.

In its initial plans, the department had anticipated that the first nuclear power plant would come on stream in 2022 and the last one in 2029.

But Gordhan said last week that it shared its findings on the cost implications for nuclear energy with officials from the department of energy.

It said the department had not yet completed a cost-benefit analysis on nuclear energy……..http://www.iol.co.za/news/nuclear-plan-still-uncertain-7094028

December 9, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, South Africa | Leave a comment

Murky dealings in South Africa’s nuclear procurement

corruptionflag-S.AfricaNuclear vision: New Eskom CEO Koko puts controversial nuclear power plans back on table The nation breathed a collective sigh of relief when the government appeared to back down on plans to build nuclear power plants any time soon. But Eskom’s new acting CEO Matshela Koko has moved quickly to get the build back on the agenda. He would like to start the process to identify project participants before the end of the year, with nuclear power plants up-and-running within the next decade, Fin24 has revealed.

The nuclear power plan has proved controversial for a number of reasons: firstly, the amount of money involved in developing the programme is so huge it could damage the economy; secondly, the plans first came to light after it emerged that President Jacob Zuma had been in secret talks with Russia to do the work. While Russia and its agency Rosatom have denied that there have been any irregularities in their dealings with South Africa about the build programme, it’s hard not to be cynical about what has gone on behind-the-scenes. The state capture report released by former public protector Thuli Madonsela pointed to the widespread abuse of state funds and the involvement of foreign parties in the control of state entities. Power utility Eskom featured prominently in the report.

So far, there has been no concerted action to fully investigate the allegations. Koko replaces Brian Molefe, who resigned after disgracing himself with bizarre statements about a shebeen in Saxonwold in order to deny he was visiting the controversial Gupta family who live in the leafy suburb. But Koko is no saint; he has also had links to an irregular Eskom deal highlighted in the state capture report. The fact that the nuclear build programme is back on the table, and that there is a sense of urgency to get it moving, points to the worrying possibility that state capture doesn’t only extend across the public sector – it runs deep within institutions. – Jackie Cameron

Biz News, By Matthew Le Cordeur, 1 Dec 16 

Cape Town – Despite a draft energy plan that sees nuclear energy being delayed by over a decade, government and its state-owned entities (SOE) are gearing up to release the request for proposal (RFP) for the 9.6 GW nuclear build programme.

Acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko last month pledged to release the RFPs by the end of the year, and this could happen as soon as next week…….https://www.biznews.com/sa-investing/2016/12/01/nuclear-power-eskom-ceo-koko/

December 2, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s new Integrated Resource Plan holds no joy for the nuclear lobby

What’s next for SA energy, now that Russian nuclear build is on ice? Expert unpacks the plan , Biz News, Business players and others with interests in nuclear energy are understandably annoyed that the country’s plans are changing, with a nuclear build programme with Russia looking like it is on ice. For Hartmut Winkler, a physics expert at the University of Johannesburg, the new plan has the makings of a good news story for South Africa. He unpacks the details, explaining how energy consumption patterns in the country have changed recently and also how the costs of renewable energy options have been falling. Although the pro-nuclear lobby – which includes Eskom, a state entity that features prominently in state capture allegations – is expected to keep pushing for the Russian option, Winkler reckons the programme is unlikely to go ahead. There is research that indicates that nuclear power might not even be needed by South Africa until at least 2050, which means pushing the build out even further.  Winkler is remarkably upbeat about the state of the energy sector. If energy generation is managed properly from here on, South Africa’s energy challenges may not be as bad as we all think, is his message. – Jackie Cameron By Hartmut Winkler* 29 Nov 16 The much awaited updated South African Integrated Resource Plan for electricity has been released for comment.

The document makes far-reaching proposals about the target energy generation mix leading all the way to 2050. In particular, the plan pronounces on the future scale and role of nuclear energy and renewable energy technologies. The appropriateness of these has been debated a great deal in the country in the past few years……

in an updated version of the 2011 plan that was prepared in 2013. It recommended that, in view of these changing conditions, there was no longer a need to kick-start a nuclear build programme immediately. It also recommended that a decision on whether or not to embark on an expensive expansion of the nuclear reactor fleet could be delayed for several years.

But this updated version of the plan was never promulgated. This left the door open for a fiercely pro-nuclear lobby which is in favour of a highly lucrative nuclear expansion programme. This issue has developed into a political hot potato. The central argument is that the push for nuclear goes against economic common sense and that it’s being pursued for the benefit of politically connected individuals.

The nuclear build issue has come to feature prominently as one of the important drivers of what is referred to as “state capture” of some of the country’s large institutions.

The latest version

The draft update of the resources plan advocates the following most likely scenario, referred to as the “base case”.

  • Electricity demand between 310 and 355 TWh in 2030 (about 100 TWh lower than envisaged in the 2010-2030 plan) with demand rising to between 390 and 530 TWh in 2050. This is based on projection models developed at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
  • The construction of 37.4 GW (1 000 GigaWatts equal 1 TeraWatt) of wind capacity and 17.6 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity between 2020 and 2050.
  • The gradual decommissioning of most existing coal power stations by 2050 in line with international carbon emission agreements.
  • A substantial increase (35.3 GW) in electricity generation from gas. Due to the high cost of gas it is generally used only as a back up. It would in any case contribute only about 7% of total energy generation.
  • The construction of just over 20 GW of nuclear power. But this would only gradually come on line between 2037 and 2050. Given that construction of the plants would take ten years the decision to go ahead with the nuclear build could still be delayed for another decade.

Initial reactions

Unsurprisingly, the nuclear industry and its supporters have reacted very negatively to the new draft. Strong nuclear advocates in the state electricity utility Eskom have gone so far as to defiantly declare that they will invite nuclear construction proposals before the end of the year.

But Eskom’s defiance is unlikely to lead to anything substantial. This is because the state utility is facing both a credibility crisis and its finances are in poor shape.

On the other hand advocates of faster growth in renewables have criticised two fundamental assumptions underpinning the “base case” model.

They argue that the model assumes renewable tariffs slightly higher than achieved in the last allocations made under the renewable energy procurement programme. Only by 2030 do these drop a further 20% for photovoltaics and 9% for wind. But given recent trends and projections there’s a strong likelihood that future renewable energy costs will be lower than that.

The “base case” also assumes a limit to how many solar and wind plants can be constructed annually. But based on past interest and delivery by private renewable power producers far greater annual developments are possible.

Several researchers have shown that by applying lower renewable tariffs and removing annual construction limits renewables can make up a much greater proportion of the energy mix, and that new nuclear might not even be needed in 2050.

Future energy demand

The new energy plan is now subject to public input. It is due to be adopted by government in four months time after improvements and further scenario modelling has been added.

Even after adoption, updates will need to be done regularly, ideally every two years since even current projections could be overestimating future energy demand considerably.

This is particularly true given that energy consumption is declining in most developed countries because of advances in technology and energy saving initiatives.

If the energy sector is managed correctly, the current South African energy crisis may not be as far reaching as is often assumed.The Conversation

November 30, 2016 Posted by | ENERGY, politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s unsafe nuclear power plans – new report

safety-symbol-Smflag-S.AfricaSouth Africa’s Proposed Nuclear Power Plant Unsafe: Study  VOA News, 25 Nov 16 JOHANNESBURG — 

South African power provider Eskom has proposed building a nuclear power station on a site that may be at risk of surge storms and tsunamis, a geological report suggests, but the state-owned utility disputes the findings.

South Africa has the continent’s only nuclear power station and plans to expand nuclear power generation to meet growing electricity demand in Africa’s most industrialized country.

The report by Maarten de Wit, a professor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and director of the Africa Earth Observatory Network, a research institute, says canyons in the bedrock would need to be secured.

“If you are going to build anything on that, it’s pretty prone to storms, sea level rises and tsunamis,” De Wit told Reuters on Friday.

The site at Thyspunt, near Port Elizabeth in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, is on the Indian Ocean coastline.

The report also showed seismic activity along dormant fault lines near the site that could trigger submarine landslides. Any such activity “is likely to generate a large submarine slump, and a possible significant local tsunami that would affect the coastal region, including Thyspunt,” the report said, warning that a plant at Thyspunt could be at risk of devastation similar that in Fukushima in Japan in 2011……. http://www.voanews.com/a/south-afdrica-s-proposed-nuclear-power-plant-unsafe-report-says/3611738.html

November 26, 2016 Posted by | safety, South Africa | Leave a comment

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) warns Eskom on nuclear procurement plansx

Busa warns Eskom on nuclear plans IOL,  25 November 2016,  Siseko Njobeni Johannesburg – Business Unity South Africa (Busa) yesterday warned power utility Eskom not to proceed with preparations to procure nuclear while consultations on the draft integrated resource plan (IRP) had not been completed.

Busa said it was concerned that the difficulties that renewable projects faced in gaining access to the grid appeared to be used as an artificial constraint on renewable energy sources.

“Furthermore, Busa is concerned that Eskom and the government do not seem to be aligned on the question of the nuclear element of the IRP,” the business group said.

“Busa believes that the role of Eskom, particularly in respect of its position as the sole purchaser of electricity, needs to be clearly defined.”

“Additionally, Eskom’s role as the developer of new generation capacity should not proceed independently of the IRP which is only expected to be finalised in the third quarter of next year,” Busa said.

Procurement

The business body said any procurement of large-scale generation should commence only after finalisation of the IRP as the national plan.

The warning comes after the Department of Energy published the draft integrated energy plan and the draft IRP for the country on Tuesday.  The documents are out for public comment.

The assumptions and scenarios in the IRP will be the subject of public consultation at Nedlac – the government, labour and business negotiating chamber – and provincial road shows in February next year…….

Meanwhile, the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa said yesterday that it was alarmed at the prospect of a delay of the nuclear programme to 2037. http://www.iol.co.za/business/companies/busa-warns-eskom-on-nuclear-plans-2093258

 

November 26, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, South Africa | Leave a comment

Stalling of nuclear power plan in South Africa shows Zuma’s waning power

flag-S.AfricaZuma’s waning power exposed by stalled nuclear plan. Mail and Guardian 24 Nov 2016 Mike CohenPaul Vecchiatto Government’s decision to stall plans championed by President Jacob Zuma to build nuclear plants has exposed his waning authority.

News of the delay came on Tuesday when the department of energy said additional atomic power won’t come on stream until 2037 under its “base case” scenario, 14 years later than previously projected. Although Zuma says reactors are key to addressing power constraints in Africa’s most industrialised economy, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, economists and ratings agencies warn that South Africa can’t afford them now.

 “Essentially the project has been indefinitely postponed and the final decision on nuclear power will only be taken by Zuma’s successor,” said Robert Schrire, a politics professor at the University of Cape Town. “This is a great victory for economic rationality and political expediency and reflects the new political balance of a weakened Zuma administration.”…….

Gordhan’s victory
Gordhan won a victory this month after prosecutors withdrew fraud charges against him for allegedly approving a pension payment to a tax service official, two days before he was due to appear in court. The Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, alleged that Zuma intended to use the court case as a pretext for firing Gordhan and in the process remove the biggest obstacle to his nuclear ambitions.

The party also says that Zuma may already have signed a secret nuclear power supply deal with Russia and that the programme would be used to benefit his own financial interests and those of his allies. The president and the government deny the allegation……

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson told reporters the power blueprint was updated to reflect developments in the energy industry, including changes in technology costs and lower-than-anticipated demand. The draft plan will be finalised next year.

Eskom, which supplies about 90% of the nation’s power, isn’t shelving its nuclear plans yet. The state utility will continue to seek requests for proposals to build new reactors pending the completion of the energy plan…..

The dynamics of power in South Africa are shifting, according to Keith Gottschalk, a political scientist from the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town.

Zuma is “still able to outvote and outmanoeuvre his opponents in the ANC, but the mounting pressure has meant he has not been able to always get his own way all the time,” he said. “He is on the way down like a slow-leaking puncture.” – Bloomberg http://mg.co.za/article/2016-11-24-news-analysis-zumas-waning-power-exposed-by-stalled-nuclear-plan

November 24, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Economic realities in South Africa: indefinite delay to nuclear power plans

scrutiny-on-costsflag-S.AfricaGovernment delays nuclear plant plans as economy stagnates, Mail and Guardian, 22 Nov 2016 Mike CohenPaul Vecchiatto  South Africa delayed plans to build new nuclear power plants over concern about their cost and the waning demand for additional electricity as economic growth stalls.

Under a new timeline, the first nuclear power is expected to come on stream in 2037, with a total 20 385 megawatts of nuclear energy added to the national grid by 2050, according to the “base case” scenario outlined in a presentation about the department of energy’s updated Integrated Resources Plan. The proposal, released in Cape Town on Tuesday, also estimates as additional 37 400 MW of power from wind, 17 600 MW from solar plants, 35 292 MW from gas and 15 000 MW from coal by 2050.

  The government previously said it wanted to generate 9 600 MW of energy from as many as eight reactors that should begin operating from 2023 and be completed by 2029. Price estimates had ranged from $37-billion to $100-billion. Although President Jacob Zuma has championed the nuclear programme, the treasury has cautioned that the country may be unable to afford new reactors at a time when the economy is barely growing and the budget deficit needs to be curbed to fend off a junk credit rating.

“Gas and renewables [will] form the biggest chunk of installed capacity by 2050,” the department of energy said in the presentation. “There is significant reduction in installed capacity from coal……..

Power cuts
The energy plan will be refined in March next year and then submitted to Cabinet for final sign-off.

Eskom, the state-owned utility, has said it could use the more than R150-billion it will accumulate in reserves within 10 years to build new reactors. The utility operates Africa’s only nuclear power plant — the 1 800 MW Koeberg facility near Cape Town, which began operating in 1984.

Rosatom, Areva SA, EDF SA, Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric unit, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corp and Korea Electric Power Corp previously expressed interest in building new reactors in South Africa…..http://mg.co.za/article/2016-11-22-sa-delays-nuclear-plant-plan-as-economy-stagnates

November 23, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s renewable energy is making nuclear power look obsolete

solar,-wind-aghastflag-S.AfricaSolar And Wind Versus Nuclear: Is Baseload Power Obsolete? Planet Save November 20th, 2016 by . The future of electrical energy is playing out in South Africa, where 80% of all electricity is generated by burning coal. The government is anxious to shutter all those coal fired plants but is caught in a crossfire between advocates for nuclear power and those who favor renewable solutions like solar and wind energy.

South Africa is the most advanced economy in sub-Saharan Africa. Until 2008, its electrical power came from coal fired generating stations and one nuclear power plant. Starting in 2008, the country ran short of electricity due to poor infrastructure planning, That’s when crippling rolling blackouts began. Desperate for more electrical capacity, the government started a campaign to lure investment in wind and solar power. By June of this year, 102 renewable energy projects worth $14.4 billion had been completed.

Renewable Strategy Successful

“The program has been very successful, clear of any corruption and very well run,” said Wikus van Niekerk, the director of the Center for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies at Stellenbosch University. “It’s been seen by many people in the rest of the world as one of the most successful procurement programs for renewable energy. It’s something that the South African government and public should be proud about.”

Several of those projects are concentrated solar facilities located near Upington in the central part of the country. That area has some of the most abundant daily sunshine of any place on earth. But those facilities use technology that is now almost obsolete. They use mirrors to concentrate sunlight to boil water to make steam.

After the sun goes down, they can continue to make electricity from the steam on hand for a few hours. After that, they have to wait for the sun to reappear the next day. Newer concentrated solar plants use the sun’s rays to heat molten salt, which can be kept in storage for up to 10 hours after the sun sets and used to keep the steam turbines spinning. Researchers in Spain say using molten silicon can store up to ten times as much energy as molten salt……….

Is Baseload Power An Outmoded Concept?

“The concept of baseload is actually an outdated concept,” said Harald Winkler, the director of the Energy Research Center at the University of Cape Town. “Eskom was built around big coal and to a lesser extent big nuclear — big chunks of base load power. It’s really myopic in terms of where the future of the grid is going to go. We’re going to see in South Africa and the rest of the world much more decentralized grids.”

Distributed Vs. Centralized Power

Ahhh, there is in a nutshell. The same fears that drive established utility companies in the United States. Europe, and Australia apply in South Africa. Utility companies think in terms of centralized grids. Renewables coupled with efficient, cost effective energy storage make grids virtually obsolete. Utility companies are petrified they may become irrelevant and the trillions of dollars invested in building grids throughout the world will stop producing income.

Businesses in South African cities are increasingly installing solar panels and going off the grid. Elsewhere in Africa, it is now common to see villagers connecting cellphones to single solar panels outside mud­ brick homes.

Opposition to South Africa’s nuclear plans is also coming from the government’s main research agency, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. It says an expansion of solar and wind energy, in addition to natural gas, could meet South Africa’s future energy needs for less money. “No new coal, no new nuclear,” said Tobias Bischof­Niemz, who leads the
council’s research on energy. “South Africa is in a very fortunate situation where we can decarbonize our energy system at negative cost.”……..

Nuclear power relies completely on a centralized grid. Building grid infrastructure — transmission lines and substations — costs as much or more as a building generating facilities themselves. That’s why localized renewable power provides the most amount of electricity per dollar invested. http://planetsave.com/2016/11/20/solar-wind-versus-nuclear-baseload-obsolete/

November 21, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, South Africa | Leave a comment