Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the South African minister of minerals and energy, has said the country’s long-term electricity needs would have to be met by nuclear energy.

She said nuclear power would help “increase energy diversity and security of supply and reduce energy-related emission levels because it is a cleaner burning fuel.”

Mlambo-Ngcuka said the government remained committed to developing the pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR) to meet domestic energy needs as well as obtaining hydropower from central Africa’s Inga project on the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The minister added that the government aimed to produce 5% of its energy from renewables, including wind, solar and hydropower by 2013.

The country’s only nuclear power station at Koeberg supplies 6.5% of the national electricity need, with most of the rest produced by coal-burning power stations.

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