At last week’s meeting of Parliament’s portfolio committee on energy, the deputy director-general for nuclear energy in the Department of Energy, Zizamele Mbambo, made the extraordinary claim that a nuclear build in SA would create 200,000 new and permanent jobs. Despite providing no evidence to support this claim, he said that while most direct jobs in the nuclear business were "highly professional", a "multiplier effect" would create other jobs through localisation efforts. Nuclear industry lobbyists typically claim that jobs are created directly during the construction and operation of nuclear power plants and indirectly via the economic growth that is said to flow naturally from the generation of more electricity. Sadly, the truth is that these claims are very unlikely to be realised in SA for a number of interrelated reasons. Since the government’s 2010 announcement that it intended to procure new nuclear power stations, various claims have been made by government officials and...

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