Necsa’s Kemm lands in a tight spot

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Siseko Njobeni

NU­CLEAR En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion (Necsa) chair­per­son Kelvin Kemm has re­futed re­ports that he had sin­gled out Rus­sian en­ergy group Rosatom as the lead­ing con­tender for South Africa’s nu­clear ex­pan­sion project.

Kemm ear­lier this week up­dated jour­nal­ists on the nu­clear pro­gramme on the side­lines of a nu­clear con­fer­ence in Rus­sia, stat­ing that the nu­clear plans were still on track de­spite the West­ern Cape High Court’s rul­ing in April that the nu­clear pro­gramme was in­valid and un­con­sti­tu­tional.

Lobby group, the Or­gan­i­sa­tion Un­do­ing Tax Abuse (Outa), was yes­ter­day crit­i­cal of Kemm’s ut­ter­ances, ac­cus­ing him of jump­ing the gun.

“For the sake of trans­parency and fair­ness, I trust that Kemm is not part of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing stake­holder fo­rum, oth­er­wise he has just shown his bias, which we would be happy to raise if we need to ap­proach the courts for fur­ther relief from this cor­rup­tion-driven deal.

“It is un­fath­omable where Kemm gets the right to make pro­nounce­ments on de­ci­sions that still need to hap­pen and pub­lic en­gage­ments which still have to oc­cur,” said Outa en­ergy di­rec­tor Ted Blom.

Blom added that Kemm’s com­ments sug­gested that a de­ci­sion on the nu­clear pro­gramme had al­ready been made. He said Outa could launch a court chal­lenge on the mat­ter at a later stage.

But Kemm, who is at­tend­ing the Atom­expo con­fer­ence in Moscow, yes­ter­day said: “I was in­ter­viewed by the me­dia here. They asked if South Africa’s nu­clear pro­gramme had been can­celled by the High Court de­ci­sion. I said no, we are car­ry­ing on as planned.”

‘Pro­ce­dural mat­ter’

Kemm said the court de­ci­sion only re­lated to “a pro­ce­dural mat­ter” and Min­is­ter of En­ergy Mmamoloko Kubayi had de­cided not to ap­peal the de­ci­sion and in­stead com­mit­ted to redo the dif­fer­ent co-op­er­a­tion agree­ments that were a bone of con­tention.

“How­ever, since the agree­ments re­lated to the tech­ni­cal co-op­er­a­tion and not to ac­tual pro­cure­ment, we do not ex­pect that this will al­ter the planned time­line by much.

“We still hope to get the (re­quests for pro­pos­als) re­sults in by Christ­mas. I did not say that a re­sult will be an­nounced by the end of the year. That is de­pen­dent on the gov­ern­ment.”

Non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions Earth­life Africa and the South­ern African Faith Com­mu­ni­ties’ En­vi­ron­ment In­sti­tute, suc­cess­fully stopped for­mer En­ergy Min­is­ter Tina Joe­mat-Pet­ters­son’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to pro­cure 9 600MW of new nu­clear power.

Kemm said jour­nal­ists in Rus­sia also wanted to know if Rosatom was still in the run­ning for the long-awaited ten­der. “I said yes, they are, and that Rosaton is cer­tainly one of the lead­ing con­tenders. Their tech­nol­ogy is ex­cel­lent. There is a false story cir­cu­lat­ing here that the South African nu­clear pro­gramme was can­celled,” said Kemm.

He said Necsa re­cently ex­ported lo­cally man­u­fac­tured nu­clear re­ac­tor cham­bers to Rus­sia and that the Rus­sians wanted to im­port more nu­clear com­po­nents fab­ri­cated by Necsa.

“We are look­ing for col­lab­o­ra­tion in which South Africa is not only an im­porter of nu­clear tech­nol­ogy but also an ex­porter.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.