NEWS
22/11/2017 06:17 SAST | Updated 22/11/2017 06:30 SAST

State Capture: Brian Molefe Defends 'Cheap' Nuclear Energy

“I do not understand why we in Africa, who do not have electricity, are afraid of nuclear, or we are being made to fear nuclear.”

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Brian Molefe.

The Koeberg nuclear power station in the Western Cape is the cheapest producer of electricity in the country, former Eskom boss Brian Molefe told the parliamentary inquiry into state capture on Tuesday.

"From what I know, from a technical point of view, and what I know about Koeberg, is that [it] is currently giving us the cheapest source of electricity," he said, responding to a question.

The up-front costs of nuclear generation were very high, but the life of a nuclear plant was about 80 years, with very cheap electricity.

"The issues are the safety issues, which can be managed; that have been managed. The United States has 99 nuclear reactors, all over [that country]. France gets over 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear. The Chinese are doing it... building nuclear reactors.

"I do not understand why we in Africa, who do not have electricity, are afraid of nuclear, or we are being made to fear nuclear."

He suggested South Africa procure nuclear from a "competent" provide rcountry.

"People have a fear of Russia, that I don't understand. But I don't mind, we can obtain it from the United States, or from China, or from the Japanese... or the French even.

"The thing is, we have to get technology that is compatible with what we already have here, what we already know."

Asked about the huge cost, and whether South Africa could afford it, he suggested it was possible to fund a nuclear buold without raiding the fiscus.

"I have said it is possible to fund this thing without touching the fiscus. What you do is you ring-fence future revenue from the nuclear plants ans raise capital against that. That was my view, anyway."

Molefe said that during his tenure at Eskom, the utility had been working on such financial models.

Molefe Defends