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'SA can have cheap & sustainable electricity for nearly 80 years'

The Energy Department says this can be achieved if the country invests in nuclear technology.

FILE: The department says to date the state has signed agreements with China, France, South Korea, the US and Russia. Picture: Freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Energy Department says investing in nuclear technology can provide cheap and sustainable electricity for nearly 80 years.

The department says to date the state has signed agreements with China, France, South Korea, the US and Russia.

There have been reports that Russia is the frontrunner to win the right to build South African nuclear plants that may be worth R1,2 trillion.

Editor of Energize Magazine Roger Lily says the technology that Russia uses is safe.

"The technology is cheap to run and it is clean compared to coal. The difficulty is that it takes a very long time and is very expensive to build a nuclear power station. South Africa needs electricity now."

Last week, Russia's presidential spokesperson confirmed that President Jacob Zuma and Vladimir Putin have outlined their launch of a nuclear power development programme in South Africa as a priority.

Dmitry Peskov said naturally Russia has a high potential for cooperation.

But with a six-month deadline to award contracts, who exactly is going to pay for the country's biggest project yet remains a mystery.