South Africa: What’s the Attraction of Nuclear Energy?


The nuclear energy sector future looks to be in dire straits. Most of the current new builds are in China but in 2014, China paid $ 9-billion for nuclear while spending $ 83-billion on wind and solar. French nuclear company Areva, once the standard bearer for nuclear, is now technically bankrupt. Most telling is the fact that no Generation III reactors (the ones South Africa is apparently looking to procure) have come into service in the past 20 years due to continued delays. So what is the attraction? By DIRK DE VOS.

If one were to take our senior politicians at face value, one might well get the impression that a future nuclear power station construction programme is a foregone conclusion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our own nuclear debates appear somewhat like a comet with an elliptical orbit to a pre-scientific society. We respond either with fear or veneration but it all goes away, only to return again at some unknown future date.

  • The more interesting question is why it does this. What is the continued attraction of nuclear? The nuclear energy sector future looks to be in a dire state. The graph below, from the International Energy Agency…

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