Cabinet has given the green light for South Africa’s controversial nuclear plans to go ahead with the procurement process.
According to BDLive, the approval came at the final Cabinet meeting for the year on Wesnesday (9 November) – the same meeting in which finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was fired.
Nene, along with many other politicians, analysts, economists and experts called for caution regarding the plans, with some even calling for the idea to be scrapped entirely.
Government wants to build several nuclear power plants in the country to provide 9,600MW of energy. Conservative estimates into the costs involved say such a project would cost R500 billion – though experts say it is more likely to spill over R1 trillion in reality.
With Cabinet’s approval, requests for proposals can now be issued, in which vendors will supply pricing and funding models.
To date, government has been silent on how it will fund the nuclear build. It conducted its own studies into the costs, but the subsequent reports have been classified.
According to the Democratic Alliance, whether its R500 billion or R1 trillion, the project is simply unaffordable.
“Whichever funding model is chosen, you can rest assured that it will be paid for by the South African taxpayer, and that we can expect substantial tariff increases over many years,” said DA leader Mmusi Maimane.