Uranium-mining, conversion, enrichment, fuel fabrication, as well as the reprocessing of used fuel are envisaged as strategic priorities related to energy security, said Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica at an energy summit held in Sandton in September.
She added that the export of unprocessed uranium will be restricted and a strategic stockpile will be maintained and beneficiated locally.
The summit initiated the ongoing review of the energy white paper, and it was noted that, when the policy document was drawn up in 1998, government was noncommittal on nuclear energy, and the spot price of uranium was below $10/lb.
“However, renewed interest in nuclear has resulted in some countries coming out of the closet and declaring their intentions to pursue nuclear for peaceful use. “The international price of uranium has dramatically increased from $10/lb, in 2003, to $120/lb, in 2007,” said DME director-general Sandile Nogxina.
Uranium-mining and beneficiation was focused on at the summit as having an important role to play in contributing to energy security, particularly with the Eskom board having approved an investigation into the construction of up to 20 000 MW of new nuclear capacity by 2027.
The first phase of this will be the construction of a 4 000-MW-capacity pressurised water reactor (PWR) power station, to be built from 2009 to 2010, with the first unit to be commissioned in 2016.
The environmental-impact assessment is currently under way,
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. To access earlier articles, click Advanced Search and set an earlier date range.
To search for a term containing the '&' symbol, click Advanced Search and use the 'search headings' and/or 'in first paragraph' options.