Rosatom to grow public awareness on nuclear energy
The Russian atomic energy company faces strong resistance from environmental lobbyists in SA.
CAPE TOWN - Rosatom says it has to 'gradually grow public awareness and acceptance' about nuclear energy as the Russian atomic energy company faces strong resistance from environmental lobbyists and opposition politicians in South Africa.
Two organisations have challenged the legality of government's proposed 9,600 MW nuclear build programme in court before Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson calls for quotes for the tender.
Rosatom is said to be on the inside track for the contract.
The Democratic Alliance (DA), meanwhile, is pushing for the project to be abandoned on the basis that it's unaffordable and shrouded in secrecy.
Rosatom has billed nuclear as a cheap source of energy and a job-creating solution for the country.
The company, which is building 34 reactors across the globe, is hoping to influence South African perceptions about nuclear.
To do this, the nuclear producer is showcasing what it's done in other countries.
In the Hungarian city of Paks, where Rosatom has built a 2,000 MW nuclear power plant, the state-owned facility is credited for being the single biggest employer in the region.
Construction began in 1973 and the reactors began operating a decade later.
Last year, the power plant's four generators produced more than 50 percent of the country's electricity supply.
The facility's Csaba Dohoczki says, "In this region the unemployment level is lower than in the country because of the nuclear power plant."
Rosatom wants to begin construction on two new reactors at Paks in 2018.
Rosatom has sponsored a press trip to Hungary.