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NUM: Nuclear power will cripple economy

The union’s General Secretary Frans Baleni on Thursday warned against the idea.

FILE: NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa would be committing economic suicide if it pursued building nuclear power stations, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) warned on Thursday.

Speaking during his State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament on Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma revealed the country was seriously looking at nuclear energy.

He said the country needed a mix of coal, shale gas, nuclear and renewable energy to power the economy.

NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni on Thursday warned against the idea.

"For 9,000 megawatts, it will cost us R1 trillion or more. It will make the arms deal seem like a picnic. If we were to spend that trillion, the economy won't be able to afford it at all."

Baleni's comments come as the country faces a crippling electricity shortage, which has in part been blamed for South Africa's shrinking economy.

Earlier this week, Eskom declared a system emergency, saying the national power grid was under severe pressure.

It said load-shedding would be experienced in several suburbs around the country on Thursday evening.

Tonight will be the third consecutive night of planned outages this week.

Load-shedding is expected to be implemented between 5:30 and 6:30pm.

Search for load-shedding schedules in your area here.

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