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SA readying itself for nuclear energy

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson says nuclear energy will become a reality.

Tina Joemat-Pettersson is attending the launch of the solar capital solar power farm in De Aar. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Energy Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson said the country needs to move away from relying heavily on coal energy and find new ways to the energy crisis in South Africa.

Joemat-Pettersson made the announcement at the launch of the Solar Capacity Solar Power Farm in the Northern Cape yesterday.

The plant is the largest of its kind on the continent.

Joemat-Pettersson s aid nuclear energy will become a reality.

"We'll start with the procurement quite soon."

She insisted nuclear power generation is needed, but stopped short on elaborating on the costs involved.

"90 percent of our energy is derived from coal. We have to reduce our reliance on coal and we have one of the best capacities for nuclear energy."

Joemat-Pettersson has however commended independent solar power producers, which adds around six percent to the national grid.

From next month, Eskom customers will pay 9.4 percent more for electricity.

The minister said, "The tariff matter is a larger matter, but the prices we are charging have reduced considerably."

She said she's confident Eskom prices will decrease more as additional solar power farms are constructed.

The new solar energy plant in De Aar, which is the size of more than 900 soccer fields, will provide power to between 75,000 to 100,000 homes.