Songezo Zibi on Redi Tlhabi’s show on Thursday. Picture: TWITTER/JENNY CRWYS WILLIAMS
Songezo Zibi on Redi Tlhabi’s show on Thursday. Picture: TWITTER/JENNY CRWYS WILLIAMS

SPARKS flew on Talk Radio 702 on Thursday as Business Day editor Songezo Zibi went toe to toe with Eskom acting CEO Brian Molefe on the state’s drive to procure 9.6GW of nuclear energy.

Listen as Mr Molefe is put on the spot during an impromptu call-in to 702 host Redi Tlhabi’s show on Thursday, when Mr Zibi challenged the acting CEO on key points of the state’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

Listen to the heated discussion here

Background

President Jacob Zuma announced in his state of the nation address that SA would build 9.6GW of nuclear power generation capacity. The figure is contained in the IRP of 2010. However, the Department of Energy decided to revise the document because new information become available, and therefore new options needed to be explored.

This information included new economic growth forecasts — which are much lower — as well as lower electricity demand, and new discoveries in gas and renewable energy. Instead of using this new document to inform its decision, the government chose not to give it final approval. It based its decision on the "old" IRP 2010, which in any case is being revised. Read the revised IRP with updated information here.

Public should study documents

The National Planning Commission (NPC), an arm of the Presidency, commissioned the University of Cape Town’s Energy Resource Centre (ERC) to help it produce a power plan that would provide more information to the government so that rational decisions could be taken. The commission’s document does not replace the IRP, which is the primary document on which the government’s decisions on energy are made. However, it is important because in many respects it agrees with what the revised IRP 2010 says, the very document that is being ignored. Read the NPC document here.

Business Day believes it is important for the public to study these documents closely so that it can participate from an informed perspective in any ensuing debate about investment in various energy options, including nuclear.