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Former Eskom chief nuclear officer David Nicholls was once chief engineer on a nuclear submarine. So he isn’t scared of the technology. What does scare him is “renewable” energy technology.

As he tells Peter Bruce in this edition of Podcasts from the Edge, “If you’re going to tell me renewables are the solution then why do you need a policy document?” His point is that no-one wrote a policy document for mobile phones. There was no need to. They just worked.

To fix our energy future Nicholls, now chairman of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA, reporting to minerals and energy minister Gwede Mantashe, says we need more nuclear.

The government’s plan is to extend Koeberg’s life from 2024 but then, he says, it must press ahead with another 2,500MW of nuclear written into the Integrated Resource Plan, the famous 2019 IRP.

That would mean two new units of about 1,100MW each added to Koeberg and the return of some form of the old Pebble Bed Modular Reactor that South African scientists created and then abandoned.

The energy fight may be only just beginning.

Podcasts from the Edge is a production of TimesLIVE Podcasts.

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