‘SA has to build nuclear power stations due to lack of water’

The minister says by contrast, coal-fired power stations consume billions of litres of water.

FILE: Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson says South Africa has to build nuclear power stations because the country doesn't have enough water.

Joemat-Pettersson argued the case in Parliament during the second and final day of debate on President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (Sona).

"Koeberg [Nuclear Power Station] uses 22 billion litres of sea water, it does not use fresh water, and it recycles water. Twenty-two billion litres of sea water; nuclear energy also contributes to desalination and we are going to need it."

The mister says by contrast, coal-fired power stations consume billions of litres of water.

"Medupi Power Station will use 17 billion litres of fresh water a year; 17 billion litres of water, which we will all be looking for because this drought is not going to stop tomorrow."

Joemat-Pettersson says renewable energy cannot provide sufficient baseload supplies to support the industrialisation of the country.