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Mines and Energy to accelerate nuclear framework

The Ministry of Mines and Energy will accelerate the finalisation of its nuclear policy framework, a process that will lead to the final conceptualisation of the local future of nuclear energy. Speaking to the Economist this week, Permanent Secretary Kahijoro Kahuure said, “The nuclear policy framework has not yet been finalised.

 We will be working hard in 2015 to finalise the document,” giving an indication that his ministry was advancing the completion of the framework. The Namibia Press Agency reported that the Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon. Isak Katali who led a delegation to China earlier this year, is looking at nuclear training facilities of power plants. Commenting on the matter in October, Katali said, “This is in line with our country’s nuclear cycle policy, which provides for the establishment of a nuclear power plant. We need to train our people on the use of nuclear power energy. We are currently producing uranium, and exporting it raw.”  While there are currently no definitive plans for the construction of a nuclear power plant, Kahuure pointed out that the drafting of a nuclear policy is of importance. He said “given that we are an exporter of uranium, it goes without saying that a policy framework is necessary.”A nuclear policy framework has been on the cards as early as 2003. In 2011, experts from Finland’s Nuclear and Radiation Authority were helping the Ministry of Mines and Energy develop a nuclear policy document. Three years on, the process is stuck in a rut but work by the energy ministry should see it come into fruition during or after 2015 as indicated by Kahuure. The construction of a nuclear simulator is not intended on the part of government for the construction of a nuclear power plant. Plans to build a nuclear power plant have been shelved, it being deemed an uneconomical means to generate electricity. Much of the focus however has shifted to the government’s audacious Kudu Gas project, situated approximately 180 kilometres offshore in the South Atlantic from Oranjemund.  The Kudu project is anticipated to feed 800 megawatt into the power grid. Additionally, government through power utility Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower) will also look to develop the Baines hydropower project which upon completion will generate 600 megawatt of power.

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