Experts: Govt should explore alternatives to nuclear power

Eskom has denied reports that the nuclear build programme will kick off in June when it issues a formal request for proposals from companies bidding for the contract.

FILE: Eskom's Megawatt Park in Johannesburg. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - With reports of a timetable for the nuclear build programme, experts say there are possible alternatives that government could explore outside of nuclear power.

On Sunday, the City Press reported it was in possession of a document confirming the programme would kick off in June when Eskom issues a formal request for proposals from companies bidding for the contract.

However, the utility has denied this, saying it's still gathering information and this process needs to be completed first.

Nuclear scientist and University of Johannesburg engineering lecturer Simon Connell says apart from the prospect of corruption in the deal, critics cannot fault nuclear power as it rather efficient.

“I really think South Africans need to distinguish between saying something is bad because of corruption and saying is bad because it’s intrinsically bad.”

However, EE Publishing's Chris Yelland says he does not believe sufficient research has been done to determine whether South Africa needs a nuclear programme.

“I cannot imagine how we can proceed until an integrated resource plan has been finalised. Only once that has been finalised will we know if we need it and at what cost.”

While there have been concerns that the country simply cannot afford the programme, Eskom says the decision that will be made will be in the best interests of the country.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)