As certainty sets in that SA cannot afford a massive investment in nuclear energy, the outlook for coal as a continued source of cheap power has improved. At the release of a coal strategy document at the African Mining Indaba, various scenarios were sketched out for the coal industry based on what the government’s planned energy mix was, incorporating public sentiment, new technologies that allow for more efficient and cleaner ways to use coal and investment in the sector. "If we can’t afford nuclear then coal is back on the map," said Henk Langenhoven, chief economist at the chamber. The importance of coal in electricity generation cannot be questioned as it is burned in 16 power plants that account for 84% of the country’s power generation. In the state’s Integrated Resource Plan of 2016, however, coal-fired plants will account for 31% of generation by 2050, with nuclear power rising to 30% from 6%. The nuclear strategy has been bedevilled by fear of corruption, with concern that...

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