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South African officials debate possibility of more nuclear power plants

May 29, 2012

Early this week, government leaders and scientific experts met to discuss the possibility of adding more nuclear power plants to the energy infrastructure in South Africa. The National Nuclear Energy Conference was held recently in Johannesburg so leaders could discuss the many different aspects of introducing nuclear power to South Africa. There is currently only one power plant in the nation, in Koeberg county, just north of Cape Town, but the nation has a great deal of experience when it comes to this energy source.

"South Africa has developed the complex overall systems required to competently operate and maintain a large nuclear power plant," said Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe in a video message shown at the conference. "However, South Africa's nuclear history goes back much further than that - it actually goes back to the mid-1940s, a period of over 60 years. This makes South Africa one of the oldest nuclear countries in the world. We have a long, proud history in the field of nuclear science."

Currently the nation's main source of energy comes from coal and electrical generation in the eastern region. This has made it difficult to transport power across South Africa. Introducing new nuclear power plants across South Africa would not only help more people get electricity but it would stimulate the economy by creating jobs. The export of this energy source could also bring the nation more income.

While many points were raised in favor of nuclear energy, not everyone is on board with this plan. Greenpeace activists held an anti-nuclear protest outside the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) building where the conference was held, according to the AFP.

"We are protesting against a nuclear conference being held at the IDC," Greenpeace spokeswoman Ferrial Adam told the news source. "We are saying that it is extremely dangerous, it is expensive, it will bankrupt Africa. We have enough amounts of clean energy."

The proposed expansion of South Africa's nuclear power would cost the nation roughly $127 billion. Those who want to find out more about the controversial matter can make calls to South Africa to discuss the issue with their friends.

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