President Zuma seems to have listened to South Africans cry to put to a temporary hold to the acquisition of the controversial nuclear power plants.
Government delayed plans to build the new nuclear power plants following raised concerns over its cost alongside the waning demand for additional electricity.
Reports have it that government wanted to improve power supply in the country by generating 9 600 megawatts of energy from as many as eight reactors that should begin operating by 2023 and be completed by 2029.
It was estimated that the Nuclear power plants Purchase was to cost the country from $37 billion ( R519,585,081,906 ) to $100 billion ( R1,402,889,972,797 )though the state power utility, Eskom announced plans to fund the purchase.
While President Jacob Zuma has championed the nuclear programme, the Treasury warned that the country may not be able 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 renewable forms the biggest chunk of installed capacity by 2050, there is significant reduction in installed capacity from coal,” the Department of Energy said in the presentation.
Rosatom, Areva SA, EDF SA, Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric unit, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corporation and Korea Electric Power previously expressed interest in building new reactors in South Africa.
The energy department outlined two alternative scenarios that make different assumptions about costs, carbon emissions and the nation’s ability to generate additional renewable energy.
While some believed that about 25 821 megawatts of nuclear power will be added to the grid between 2026 and 2049, some others see the production of 5 436 megawatts of new atomic power coming on line starting in 2037.
SA has experienced series of power cuts over the years as demand continually exceeded supply. Energy shortages eased as new generating capacity was brought on line, maintenance backlogs were addressed and a stagnating economy curbed power demand.
Eskom 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.