April 27, 2012

Nuclear Expansion To Create Mining, Construction Jobs

Published on Friday April 27 2012 (AEST)
Energy Minister Dipuo Peters discusses the benefits of developing nuclear power generation in South Africa at the National Union of Mineworkers' Nuclear Energy Workshop this week.

 Expanding South Africa’s nuclear power industry would boost job creation, particularly in the uranium mining and construction sectors, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said at the National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM’s) Nuclear Energy Workshop, in Midrand, on Monday. 

The Minister was reacting to concerns raised by the NUM that a focus on nuclear power would lead to the systematic phasing out of coal, which is a key job-creating industry, as the country’s main energy source. South Africa plans to generate 9.6 GW of electricity from nuclear energy by 2030. The Integrated Resources Plan for electricity also calls for 6.3 GW of new base-load coal capacity. 

Peters told the NUM forum that localisation and job creation were central to the country’s new nuclear build programme. Not only would nuclear expansion create mining and construction jobs, it would also open opportunities in the scientific sphere. "We have sufficient local capacity in terms of scientists and scientific companies and we can capitalise from our own intellectual capacity instead of sourcing from abroad," she pointed out. 

The Minister added that partnerships with local industry players and nuclear-intensive countries, such as Japan, would be important in developing a safe and efficient nuclear sector in South Africa. 

"We must engage with countries where nuclear is primary to power generation and by learning from events such as Fukushima, we can safely and successfully strengthen our nuclear capacity.” 

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