Zimbabwe govt rules out nuclear power

By Staff reporter | 22 Jul 2019 at 11:57hrs
The government has said it has no intention of introducing nuclear power even though the technology continues to be an option for future reliable energy.  

In the face of a deepening electricity crisis, a Cabinet minister has brushed off a lobby for nuclear power generation anchored on Zimbabwe's possession of some of the largest uranium deposits in the world.

Addressing a post Cabinet press conference on Tuesday in Harare, Energy minister Fortune Chasi said although there has been talk of uranium deposits in the country, government will not go that route.

"Nuclear power is not an option because it is regulated internationally. Instead we will stick to alternatives such as solar power where we will avail incentives such as wavering duty on solar products so that we disengage as many customers from the national grid as possible," Chasi said.

Reports suggest that Uranium deposits were first discovered by Germany prospectors in the 1980s, but remain untapped because of the low world prices, and inconclusive feasibility studies of the mineral.

The country is facing its worst energy crisis in years after water levels at Kariba Dam receded to 28 percent following a severe drought during the 2018/2019 season.

Zimbabwe receives its largest power output from Kariba Hydro Power Station which depends on high water levels at the dam.
Zimbabwe has an installed capacity of around 2 000 megawatts (MW) with demand pegged at 1 500MW. Other sources of energy are Hwange (thermal), Harare (thermal), Munyati (thermal) and Bulawayo (thermal).

Most of the thermal stations have not been operational because of obsolete equipment. As a result, Zesa has had to rely on imports from Eskom of South Africa and Hydro Cahora Bassa of Mozambique.

The two foreign companies have since discontinued or reduced power exports to Zimbabwe owing to huge debts accrued by Zesa. The local power utility owes the two entities a combined debt hovering around US$67 million.

Zesa recently paid US$10 million to Eskom, but efforts to get more than 50MW from Eskom, have hit a brick wall as the South African company wants Zesa to clear its debt in full before resumption of supplies.



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