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South Africa Opts for Nuclear Power as Part of Measures to Address Electricity Crisis

South Africa, economically crippled by a serious electricity crisis and repeated power cuts, plans to increase its nuclear power production, which is currently marginal, the government announced on Tuesday.

To date, Africa’s leading industrial power has only one nuclear power plant, the only one on the continent. But the Koeberg plant, near Cape Town, is only operating at half capacity.

The government announced on Tuesday that it had launched discussions with “several potential suppliers” for the acquisition of new production units. These could be conventional reactors or small modular reactors, which are less powerful but also less costly.

Zizamele Mbambo, in charge of nuclear power at the Ministry of Energy, told a press conference that he hoped to see the first reactors in service by 2032-2033.

“An important milestone”, stressed Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, which should bring an additional 2,500 MW of electricity generation capacity.

Over the past 15 years, power cuts of up to 12 hours a day have severely affected the economy and fuelled anger against the country’s historic ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), with elections due next year.

The ANC could fall below the 50% mark, according to the polls, and lose its absolute majority in parliament for the first time.

Over the past 15 years, power cuts of up to 12 hours a day have severely affected the economy and fueled anger against the country’s historic ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), as elections are scheduled for next year.

The ANC could fall below the 50% mark, according to the polls, and lose its absolute majority in parliament for the first time.

After years of mismanagement and corruption under President Jacob Zuma (2009-2018), state-owned power utility Eskom is unable to generate enough electricity for the country from its aging and poorly maintained power plants.

One unit at the Koeberg nuclear power plant was shut down for almost a year to extend the site’s lifespan by 20 years. And the second unit was shut down this week for maintenance.

Source: Africa News

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