Necsa’s Kemm lands in a tight spot
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.”
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.”