Sunday Tribune

Nuclear deal is back on – energy minister


THE nuclear deal is back on the agenda.

This was announced yesterday by Energy Minister Mammoloko Kubayi who said she would not appeal the Western Cape High Court decision to halt the process.

Kubayi said she would stick to the judgment by following all the processes in the procuremen­t of nuclear power. She said South Africa needed it as part of the government’s energy mix programme.

Kubayi said the whole process would start from scratch.

From June, new standardis­ed agreements will be signed with Russia, China, the US, South Korea and France.

This came after the court nullified 3 of the agreements last month.

Kubayi said they can’t put an estimate to the actual cost of nuclear energy.

“We have to start from afresh and do new determinat­ions and issue requests for informatio­n.

“That is important because it will assist us on the cost,” said Kubayi.

However, the government’s push for a nuclear programme has been questioned, with various parties warning of high costs and threats of legal action if proper processes were not followed.

The court halted the nuclear programme last month, saying processes had not been followed.

The DA, IFP and African Christian Democratic Party said the government has not come clean on the costs. One of the civil society groups that took the government to court on the nuclear deal said yesterday it will closely keep an eye on the process.

The Southern African Faith Communitie­s’ Environmen­t Institute (Safcei) said it wanted Kubayi to follow the law.

Co-ordinator for energy and climate programme at Safcei Liz Mcdaid said it wanted to ensure everything was done according to the book.

“We are very glad the minister has chosen to follow the law because the previous process was found to be illegal. We will need to study whatever steps she puts on the table,” said Mcdaid.

“If they are going to follow the process it will show we don’t need a nuclear programme.

“Today, we have organisati­ons like the CSIR who say that we don’t need it. It is research institutio­ns who say that these are the numbers,” said Mcdaid.

DA spokespers­on on energy Gordon Mackay said it welcomed the fact that Kubayi will follow the process.

However, it was concerned the government was intent on pushing ahead despite concerns on costs.

Mackay said the decision was not sound if it was not based on the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) of 2016.

He warned they will interdict the minister if she starts with the process without the IRP 2016.

IFP chief whip Narend Singh also expressed concern on the costs. He said nuclear power was unaffordab­le for South Africa at this stage. He said the government would have to prove in Parliament that it was affordable.

Steve Swart of the ACDP said it was concerned that nuclear energy was unaffordab­le for the country.

“The ACDP notes that Minister Kubayi has decided not to appeal the Western Cape High Court decision. This means that she will have to comply with the stringent process set out by the court regarding openness and transparen­cy and the role of Parliament in evaluating the desirabili­ty and costing of the nuclear project,” he said.

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