M&G claims about R1trn nuclear contract not true - Dept of Energy

Govt has not committed itself to building six nuclear power stations

Department of Energy responds to Mail & Guardian's story: "Battle for South Africa's one trillion nuclear contract"

7 Oct 2011

The Department of Energy has noted the article published by the Mail & Guardian newspaper on 6 October 2011 on the alleged R1 trillion to be spent on the six nuclear reactors by 2030 (see here). 

It must be stated categorically clear that the article does not only contain information that is misleading to the public, but is full of statements that are not true and factually incorrect. It is therefore crucial that the Department of Energy corrects this damaging and damning report by stating the facts and put things into the right perspective.

The fact of the matter is that during her engagement with the media on the occasion of the Africa Energy Ministers Conference on 15 September 2011, Minister Dipuo Peters informed the media that she has signed-off a proposal for the roll-out of the new nuclear power plants to Cabinet. 

This proposal, which has been taken though interdepartmental consultations, addresses the issue of decisions that are required and the governance framework of these decisions. 

This is precisely because government recognises the complexity and magnitude of the new nuclear build programme and is putting in place the appropriate governance structures to instil confidence in and protect the credibility of the process.

Reports of a tender process being underway are factually incorrect, and have potential to cause confusion in the minds of the general public as well as decision makers who are still to be involved in this process. Attempts by interested parties to compromise these processes will not be taken lightly.

As things currently stand, only the 9.6 GWe of new nuclear energy reflected in the Integrated Resource Plan is what has been approved by Cabinet and promulgated. At no point have the government committed to build six new nuclear reactors. This clarification is important as the number of nuclear power stations to provide a total of 9.6 GWe depend on the specific design selected.

Currently the government of South Africa has not selected any design, vendor nor suppliers of the nuclear power plants. Worldwide, vendors of nuclear power plants are few and their technologies are known. No decision has been made on the actual number of power plants. This matter was explained during the engagements on the Integrated Resource Plan that the 1600 MW was only indicative and does not suggest any particular design or vendor.

We would like to take the people of South Africa into our confidence until appropriate processes have been followed and relevant decisions have been made at the relevant levels of government. We therefore ask the citizens of South Africa to wait for Cabinet to pronounce on the process proposal that Minister Peters has submitted.

Statement issued by Ndivhuwo Khangale, Department of Energy, October 7 2011

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