Gigaba on nuclear energy: We don’t need it, can’t afford it

Speaking ahead tabling the budget in Parliament, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says while nuclear power remains in the energy mix, it is not a priority right now.

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CAPE TOWN - Government says it’s stance on nuclear energy remains unchanged: the country doesn't need it and can't afford it.

Speaking to the media ahead of tabling the budget in Parliament on Wednesday, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says while nuclear power remains in the energy mix, it is not a priority right now.

Gigaba says a review of government’s Integrated Resource Plan does not mean it is looking to accelerate its nuclear plans.

“The nuclear story remains unchanged: We can’t afford it.”

Gigaba says Eskom has excess electricity because the economy is growing slowly and there’s no intensive industry to use it.

He says, for this reason, there’s no rush to pursue nuclear energy.

“We do not believe we are under any pressure to start a significant build programme of the nature and size of nuclear capacity.”

Gigaba says in his view, the country has sufficient electricity for the foreseeable future and he does not anticipate government taking any concrete steps this year to acquire nuclear capability.

He says even if the country does decide it needs additional power, it will have to look at the cost implications of opting for nuclear capacity.