Pretoria: The South African government will use the International Atomic Energy Agency’s integrated nuclear infrastructure review to assess the country’s readiness for a nuclear build, says the Department of Energy.
The country’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-2030 states the country’s intention to add 9 600 megawatts of nuclear energy to the country’s energy mix by 2030. The IRP is South Africa’s 20-year plan towards the balancing of the production of electricity and consumption.
“As the country implements the IRP, government has taken the initiative to assess its readiness for the nuclear new build programme of the country by using the IAEA milestone approach called the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR),” said the Energy Department on Wednesday.
The IAEA, which South Africa is a member of, will conduct the INIR mission in February 2013. The department said that in preparation for February’s mission, an IAEA team conducted a three-day pre-mission workshop with relevant stakeholders this week (15 – 17 October 2012).
The focus of the workshop was to provide comments on the current self-evaluation report, as well as to define the scope, work plan and logistical arrangements for the upcoming mission.
Nuclear stakeholders like the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA, Eskom, National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), and key government departments, including Energy and Public Enterprise, are part of the National Nuclear Energy Executive Coordination Committee (NNEECC) that has developed the self-evaluation report for the country.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe leads the NNEECC. The committee serves as the national decision making body regarding the nuclear programme.
In June, the NNR announced that the country’s nuclear installations could withstand natural events. This followed an assessment of reports from stakeholders – which aimed to identify vulnerabilities in the design of facilities as well as identify necessary modifications to be implemented where needed.
“While the INIR aims to perform an independent and objective review, it is not intended to be an external audit of the national infrastructure. Rather, it describes the sequential development through the three phases for each of 19 milestones,” explained the department.
The milestones include safety, legislation, funding and financing as well as radiation protection.
As a member of the agency, the country must meet these milestones.