Category Archives: DST

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.

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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 That is because back in 2010, when it drew up the now outdated integrated resource plan, public hearings were held.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.

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DST launches alternative energy solution

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has officially launched the innovative 2.5 kW hydrogen fuel cell power generator prototype unit at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The generator demonstrates South Africa’s innovative capabilities in the emerging hydrogen and fuel cell technologies space. Read more on Engineering News


Unravelling South Africa’s opaque foreign nuclear cooperation agreements, 26 August, 2014.

South African President Jacob Zuma’s intention to secure nuclear power expansion is increasingly evident (2) and the country’s forthcoming nuclear expansion has attracted several foreign suitors and the signing of agreements with corporations from China, the European Union (EU), France, Germany, Russia, South Korea and the United States (US), amongst others. But South Africa’s path towards nuclear development is replete with domestic obstacles (3), and despite Zuma’s strident commitment to nuclear expansion, these obstacles linger in the form of present concerns for South Africa’s nuclear renaissance…

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SA moves on solar atlas as project momentum builds

Engineering News, 16 May, 2014.

A South African solar energy atlas is in the process of being developed to further stimulate the deployment of both solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal technology solutions in the sun-rich country.

Science and Technology Deputy Minister Michael Masutha reported this week that the South African Weather Services was in the process of establishing 12 solar radiation stations across the country, with six already operational.

Information collected from these stations, together with data gathered from private stations andsatellite data collected by the South African National Space Agency would be used to compile the atlas.

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