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Proposed Thyspunt nuclear power plant will be a game-changer for province

Oct 11, 2017
Proposed Thyspunt nuclear power plant will be a game-changer for province

While addressing the 2017 annual South African Young Nuclear Professionals Society  (SANYPS) summit, which was held on Wednesday in Jeffreys Bay, the Deputy Minister of Energy, Ambassador Thembisile Majola, said that a nuclear power plant will be a game changer for the Eastern Cape.

 Thyspunt, outside St Francis Bay, has been identified as the possible site for the country’s next nuclear power plant.

“This development will serve as a catalyst for major growth of the economy of the Province,” Ambassador Majola said.

“In order to harness and optimise the benefit of this programme, we would require a sustained supply of skilled workforce across a broad spectrum of expertise in various engineering fields, technical and social sciences, artisans and technicians amongst others.

“This will create massive possibilities for this region to be a hub for research and development, innovation, technology development, training and skills transfer. Needless to say, this would be a major boost for the development of local business and employment opportunities. “

She said that the SAYNPS annual summit takes place at an opportune time for the country when unemployment - especially amongst the young people, is at its highest.

“Many of the unemployed young people lack the skills required by the knowledge economy. With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, there is a need for the youth to acquire the requisite skills, expertise and experience so as to be able to contribute effectively to the development and growth of the economy of our country,” the Deputy Minister added.

Ambassador Majola also said that it is significant that this summit is taking place in the Eastern Cape.

“This Province has traditionally been a thriving hub for the automotive sector. However, most recently, the Province has been diversifying into other sectors such as infrastructure development as well as gearing itself to taking advantage of the enormous potential in the ocean economy, such as oil rig maintenance; aquaculture and expansion of port facilities,” she described.

“However, without access to affordable, sustainable and reliable energy, all these positive developments will not be fully realised.

“It is in this context that our Government has created conducive and enabling environment that has attracted massive investments in the renewable energy sector, with the Eastern Cape Province leading in the field of wind energy. “

Ambassador Majola said that the country needs to take urgent action in order to ensure security of supply for the country for the next 20 years.

“The integrated Resource Plan (IRP) sets out a path for South Africa’s long term energy future introducing new players and diversifying sources of energy,” she added.

“Importantly, the IRP envisages a balanced energy mix with nuclear as an integral part of our baseload, as is the case currently.”

Ambassador Majola urged delegates to debate on the role of young people in the nuclear energy sector and encouraged young people to be educated.

“There are opportunities out there for those who are curious, who are thirsty for knowledge, who believe that they can make a positive contribution to our country, our continent and the word. I urge you to grab these opportunities and be trailblazers,” she said.

The Deputy Minister praised young people for coming up with the organisation.

“Indeed, since your formation in 2006, you have actively championed the interests of all young professionals in the nuclear sector, not only influencing debates on the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, but also practically providing a pool of dedicated practitioners in the entire nuclear value chain in our country,” she described.

“SAYNPS has been an ardent advocate for youth skills development, preservation and propagation of nuclear knowledge, expertise and its application.”