Former president Jacob Zuma’s recent comments that the nuclear build programme would have saved us from the current energy crisis need to be set in context. He was not referring to the 2015 proposed new nuclear build that came to an abrupt halt once he lost power, but the “Nuclear One” procurement programme from 2007/2008, where Westinghouse (US/Japan) and Areva (France) entered a competitive tendering process for 10 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear power. Had this gone ahead, it is likely that SA would indeed have avoided today’s crisis. It is an abject reminder of the need for long-term forward planning. Both nuclear vendors had the full support of SA’s local industry, which submitted and negotiated Eskom-compliant proposals. SA suppliers to the nuclear industry were operating at their peak and able to provide optimal support to the nuclear build programme. At an international benchmarked price of $5m per megawatt and local content of 40% for the first 10GW, the domestic spend would hav...

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