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Categories of Nuclear Installations Set Down

October 18, 2019

Department of Mineral Resources and Energy

18 October 2019

The levels of financial security to be provided by holders of nuclear installation licences in respect of three categories has been determined.

The mineral resources and energy department set down the levels of financial security in Government Gazette 42773 in terms of the National Nuclear Regulator Act.

The notice aims to also categorise the various nuclear installations in South Africa, based on the potential consequences of a nuclear accident and determine the manner in which the financial security is to be provided.

Category 1 nuclear reactors are those with a thermal power level greater than 100 MW; category 2 reactors with thermal power levels greater than 2 MW and less than 100 MW and category 3 nuclear installations are those not mentioned in categories 1 and 2.

Koeberg is regarded as a category 1 nuclear installation, SAFARI -1 Research Reactor as a category 2 and Vaalputs National Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility as a category 3 installation.

The level of financial security to be provided for Category 1 is the equivalent of 367 million Special Drawing Rights (SDR), the equivalent of 44 million SDRs for category 2 and the equivalent of 6 million SDRs for category 3.

The notice comes into effect on 1 April 2020.

Meanwhile, in a statement accompanying the release of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019, the mineral resources and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe, confirmed that coal will continue to play a significant role in electricity generation due to the abundance of coal deposits in South Africa.

“New investments will be directed towards more efficient coal technologies (High Efficiency, Low Emissions), underground coal gasification and the development of Carbon Capture and Storage to enable us to continue using our coal resources in an environmentally responsible way.”

The minister also called for a “just transition towards less carbon-emitting technologies – workers and communities in affected areas must – as far as possible – not be left worse off”.

Additional nuclear capacity will also be acquired at a pace, scale and cost affordable to the country.

The IRP 2019 calls for additional capacity to the energy mix for the period up to 2030 of 1 500 MW of generation from Coal, 2 500 MW from Hydro, 6 000 MW from Photovoltaic, 14 400 MW from Wind, 2 088 MW from Storage and 3 000 MW from Gas.

The minister also announced that the department will “shortly issue a request for information regarding supply and demand side options available that can be brought online in the shortest possible time at reasonable cost”.