Category Archives: DoE

Nuclear proposal delay expected

BDLive, 28 September, 2015

SCIENCE and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor on Tuesday cast confusion over SA’s planned nuclear procurement when she told journalists the request for proposals (RFP) would not be issued on Friday.

At a briefing by government’s cluster of economic ministers led by Pandor in Pretoria, she said that she was “almost certain” that Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson would not be able to publish the request for proposals on September 30. Early in September, Joemat-Pettersson promised Parliament the request for proposals would be issued by Friday.

But Pandor said the cluster, which meets in a Cabinet committee fortnightly, was set to discuss the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) at its next meeting, a step which had to be completed first before moving onto the nuclear procurement.

“Once we have processed what is proposed (in the IRP) as a cluster we would then take that to the formal Cabinet process. Once this has been done we will share the decisions and documents with the public.

“I am not certain … that we would be able to proceed with a call for proposals immediately this week. This was not my understanding from what was said and I think it is important for us to have agreed on the IRP at a minimum before we proceed.

“I cannot comment on what minister Joemat-Pettersson is planning for Friday but I am almost certain that she wouldn’t be able to publish the RFP on that date. Let us wait and see,” she said.

Click here for the rest of this exciting story!

Sham public consultation

BDLive, 28 September, 2016.

The government’s newest plan to build nuclear plants is so far, another case of sham public consultation. It insists that the public has already been consulted. That is because back in 2010, when it drew up the now outdated integrated resource plan, public hearings were held.

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has refused to provide Business Day with any of the studies done to inform the procurement and has also refused the DA access to the proposal for the rollout of the nuclear build and other documents. All parties in Parliament’s energy committee have resolved to use the committee’s constitutional powers to compel the minister to produce the documents.

But predictably, the government faces another court challenge, with two civil society organisations arguing that the process is faulty. Among the grounds they are asking the court to use to set aside the procurement is the absence of public consultation.

The parties have finally, after a year of attempting to extract responses and documents out of the department, been given a court date.

For much of 2016, the government has not taken the legal challenge seriously. Last December, the Cabinet said it had decided to issue a request for proposals despite not having an updated integrated resource plan in place.

Two weeks ago, Joemat-Pettersson said the first round of tender documents would be issued on September 30.

On Tuesday, for the first time, there were rumblings from within the Cabinet that perhaps not all the procedural ducks for the nuclear build are in a row.

Naledi Pandor, the minister of science and technology, said she believed an integrated resource plan had to be done before the proposal was issued.

She is right and part of that should include genuine public consultation about nuclear energy. Without it, the government will surely have another protracted legal fight on its hands.

Here is the full article

MPs push to make nuclear build info public

Legalbrief, 27 September, 2016.

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s repeated refusal to provide documentation on government’s nuclear procurement plans is to be challenged by Parliament’s Energy Affairs Portfolio Committee, which decided last week to submit a request for them to her. According to a BDlive report, whether in court or in reply to parliamentary questions, the Minister has consistently argued that the documents are privileged, confidential and sensitive. But now, notes the report, that the implementation of the plan to build 9 600MW of nuclear capacity gets closer, the need for greater disclosure becomes ever more urgent. Committee chair Fikile Majola acceded to a request by DA energy spokesperson Gordon Mackay that he write to the Minister requesting all the relevant documentation. This is the second time Majola has taken a stand in favour of transparency about the state’s nuclear plans. He has made the commitment that the committee will hold public hearings on the project. ‘I have no doubt that Parliament has an absolute obligation to engage with it (the nuclear procurement) thoroughly,’ Majola is quoted in the report as saying. ‘Parliament will have to see all the documents.’ Mackay said Joemat-Pettersson’s ‘wriggle room’ had diminished and that if she refused to provide the documents she would be in violation of the Constitution, the report states.

Full BDlive report

The Nuclear Build Risk is not yours to take, Mr Molefe

Engineering News, Wayne Duvenage, 26 September, 2015.

I find it quite alarming and disturbing when Eskom’s CEO, Brian Molefe, issues statements that “South Africa’s nuclear build programme doesn’t need to be funded by the fiscus, and that there are potential financiers who would be willing to take the risk”. Add to this, Eskom’s Executive for Generation, Matshela Koko’s comments that “Eskom can pay for the nuclear programme from projected future cash pile of R150bn over the next 10 years”.

We’ve seen this situation play out before, when Sanral thought it could sidetrack the need for Treasury to support the Gauteng freeway upgrades, hatching a privatised funding mechanism supported by an expensive e-toll scheme to suck money from the users to pay for the expensive (overpriced) roadway. The fact that Sanral botched their numbers and expectations has given rise to a failed scheme and this has ultimately become Treasury’s problem to fix. Our problem.

The nuclear deal has all the hallmarks of similar failure and it is disingenuous for Molefe and company to think that Eskom can sidestep the need for Treasury’s consent, or guarantees from the state’s coffers. The nuclear plan is the largest capital expenditure project ever contemplated for this country and the simple fact is this: Eskom is a state-owned enterprise and it is answerable to the people of South Africa. The failure of a project of this magnitude will have catastrophic consequences on the country. Eskom has no choice, this decision and the funding thereof is not theirs alone to make.

See the full, frightening article here

Date set for nuclear procurement case

Engineering News, 22 September, 2016.

A high Court hearing into an application brought by the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (Safcei) and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg relating to the legality of South Africa’s nuclear procurement process has been set down for December 13 and 14.

(EG-SA Ed note: If I were a cynic I would think that this date was chosen so a to minimise the attention the case would get – but better late than never!)

The two organisations question the legality of the process followed by government and want the court to put a halt to any non-transparent attempt to procure 9 600 MW of new nuclear capacity.

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has indicated that a nuclear request for proposal will be released on September 30, but has refused to release documents relating to its procurement preparations to the Democratic Alliance, the official opposition.

“We are very pleased that the court understands the urgency of this matter at a critical stage in South Africa’s energy decision-making process, and appreciates that it is so much in the public’s interest”, Safcei energy adviser Liz McDaid said in a statement. 

Apologies, you can’t click here for the full article, because this is the full article! Not sure why Creamer chose to give so much coverage to Eksom’s funding fantasy and so little to the matter of inappropriate procurement?