NEWS & ANALYSIS

Govt says SA's nuclear build programme non-negotiable - Lance Greyling

DA MP says Energy DG Nelisiwe Magubane's comments contradict NDP's call for a re-assessment

DA is shocked at Government's statement that South Africa's Nuclear Programme is Non-Negotiable

In a Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Nelisiwe Magubane, the Director-General of the Department of Energy announced that South Africa's proposed nuclear build programme is non-negotiable. 

In the meeting, I explicitly asked when the two year review of the country's twenty year energy plan would finally take place and she responded that it would only be after the Integrated Energy Plan was completed at the end of the year. 

She further went on to state that such a review would not re-evaluate the nuclear build programme as Cabinet had given the directive that the renewable energy programme and the nuclear build programme were non-negotiable. This is despite the fact that a number of factors and dynamics have changed in both the domestic and international energy sector in the past two years since the original energy plan was promulgated, leading to a number of its assumptions now being deemed out of date. In a completely bizarre statement she further claimed that the National Development Plan was supportive of the proposed nuclear build programme. 

The DA will therefore continue to push for a comprehensive review of our twenty year energy plan and will fight any attempt to simply steamroll the country into an investment that has the potential to lead to runaway electricity prices.

The Director General is entitled to her own opinions but not her own facts and the DA believes that any reading of the National Development Plan raises serious question marks over the nuclear programme. The chapter in the NDP is even headed "Re-assess the desirability of nuclear power investments" and states that South Africa needs a thorough investigation on the implications of nuclear energy, including its costs, safety, environmental benefits, localization and employment opportunities, uranium enrichment, fuel fabrication, and the dangers of weapons proliferation. It concludes by stating that, "all possible alternatives need to be explored." 

The proposed nuclear build programme will represent the largest investment that South Africa has ever made with estimates ranging from between R400 billion to R1 trillion, which is roughly ten times that of the infamous Arms Deal. 

The DA believes that a decision like this cannot be made without first conducting a thorough review of whether this is the most appropriate energy investment for the country. 

The DA firmly maintains that all energy options need to be properly considered before locking the country into an energy future that it cannot afford.  

Statement issue d by Lance Greyling MP, DA Shadow Minister of Energy, April 17 2013

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