- Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has reignited the debate over nuclear power being used to solve South Africa's energy woes
- Nuclear energy has been suggested before as a solution but at an exorbitant cost to the economy
- Mboweni has reassured South Africa that there is a multi-prong approach to solving Eskom's challenges
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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has suggested that nuclear power could be the solution to Eskom's woes if the power provider continues to face significant challenges.
Mboweni is currently in Davos, Switzerland, attending the World Economic Forum (WEF).
He admitted that the South African economy has suffered from load shedding as Eskom's power plants experience continues maintenance issues.
“I’m sure you have heard the minister of minerals and energy saying we need to seriously begin even to think about nuclear very seriously, in an open and transparent way because the energy needs for South Africa are big,” Mboweni said.
“And particularly given the fact that the energy needs for South Africa are actually the southern African energy needs because of the interrelationship of the southern African political economy and the role of Eskom in the region’s energy mix.”
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Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has been trying to secure another 2000 - 3000 megawatts (MW) to add to the South African electricity grid.
However, South African's are wary of a nuclear deal, former president Jacob Zuma was allegedly engaged in secret talks with Russia to build 8 nuclear reactors in South Africa. The deal would have cost the economy R1-trillion.
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Mboweni made it clear that there was no quick fix for Eskom's challenges.
“We deliberated that we have now delivered a multi-pronged energy strategy in South Africa, that involves Eskom but also renewables and other participants in the generation of electricity in the country, that we should achieve a state of power certainty in the medium- to long-term,” Mboweni said.
"Government will continue to push for the implementation of structural reforms. Though this may not happen overnight, but government will continue to discuss the reforms with all stakeholders."
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