ERC Seminar: Presenting the Energy Research Centre’s most recent published research on nuclear power investment.

5 May 2016 - 5:00pm
Chemical Engineering Seminar Room, Ground Level, Upper Campus, UCT
Contact Person: 
Britta Rennkamp

The Energy Research Centre invites you to a seminar presenting the ERC’s most recent published research on nuclear power investment

Date: 5 May 2016 at 17h00
Venue: Exhibition Hall at GSB (Graduate School of Business)
Light refreshments served from 17h00. Guests to be seated by 17h30. The seminar will close at 19h30

Speakers: Dr Britta Rennkamp and Tara Caetano
Respondents: Professors Anton Eberhard and Trevor Gaunt
Seminar opening & closing: ERC director Prof. Harald Winkler
Seminar chair: Brenda Martin
Tara Caetano will speak to a paper she has co-authored with Bruno Mervin: South Africa’s proposed nuclear build plan: An analysis of the potential socioeconomic risks. Trevor Gaunt will respond.

Caetano/Mervin paper abstract:

The paper reports on findings of a technical analysis of the potential risks and uncertainties of the commitment to SA’s proposed nuclear build plan.  This commitment is compared to a more flexible planning approach that aims to minimise costs. It includes three main tiers of analysis:

  • two alternative futures reveal the implications of different investment strategies;
  • the socioeconomic impacts of the commitment to nuclear power versus a flexible planning approach in each of these futures is modelled;
  • the risks to the economy and consumers of an electricity price rise. 

Under specific conditions the nuclear decision is not likely to have a negative impact on the South African economy; under other conditions, the negative effect would be significant.

The full paper: Extended technical version:

Britta Rennkamp will speak to a paper co-authored with Radhika Bhuyan: The social shaping of nuclear energy technology in South Africa. Anton Eberhard will respond

Rennkamp/Bhuyan paper abstract:

Why does the SA government intend to procure nuclear energy technology, despite affordable and accessible fossil and renewable energy alternatives? The social shaping of nuclear energy technology is analysed, based on public statements of political actors. A discourse network analysis is combined with qualitative analysis to establish the coalitions supporting and opposing the programme. The central arguments in the debate are costs, safety, job creation, the appropriateness of nuclear energy, emissions reductions, transparency, risks for corruption, and geopolitical influences. The analysis concludes that the nuclear programme is not primarily about generating electricity, as it creates tangible benefits for the coalition of supporters.

The full paper: