'SA has the capacity to develop a nuclear industry'

The Energy Minister says the question of cost will only become clear once the procurement process is underway.

FILE. The minister says the country’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions means that nuclear will be part of the country’s energy mix. Picture: Free Images.

CAPE TOWN - Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson says South Africa does have the capacity to develop a nuclear industry.

The minister says the country's commitment to reduce carbon emissions means that nuclear will be part of the country's energy mix.

Joemat-Pettersson was briefing Parliament's energy portfolio committee on nuclear cooperation agreements signed with five countries, including Russia and China.

Two more agreements, with Canada and Japan, are being finalised.

The minister shot down suggestions the cost of South Africa's nuclear build programme could be as much as R1 trillion.

"I've never been given figures of R1 trillion so I can't respond to R1 trillion figures, but as the funding model develops we'll be able to give you a better indication of cost-analysis."

Joemat-Pettersson says South Africa's aiming for a self-sufficient nuclear industry.

"We do have the capacity to grow a nuclear industry, we know it's a long-term solution for the country's energy needs."

She says the question of how much it will cost will only become clear once the procurement process gets underway.