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Media reports suggest government officials are under pressure to finalise the 2016 draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). This is the document that lays out plans to meet SA’s power needs. It is claimed this sudden haste reflects the government’s desire to approve more nuclear power stations. It is hard, however, to imagine how the report will credibly be able to justify such a decision. Not only is construction of nuclear power plants much more costly than alternatives, but SA is unlikely to require the envisioned additional generating capacity for decades. The original IRP published in 2010 claimed that 9,600MW of nuclear power would be needed by about 2023. This was based on forecast economic growth of 4.6% per annum. This would drive an increase in demand for electricity of 3% annually. The 2010 IRP argued supply should grow even faster than this, so as to create excess capacity of 33% by 2030. None of these projections is credible today. Annual GDP growth since 2010 has been a m...

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