Press Release: Nuclear procurement – government ignores court case

Nuclear procurement – government ignores court case

9 September 2016. In what appears to be a blatant disregard for the court process, the government is pushing ahead with its nuclear procurement. SAFCEI spokesperson, Liziwe McDaid, stated that Minister Joemat-Pettersson’s latest announcement in Parliament on Wednesday, that the government will continue to forge ahead with the nuclear procurement, appears a last ditch attempt to “push nuclear at all costs”.

Last month, SAFCEI and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (ELA-JHB) requested a list of ten documents that were referenced in the government’s legal response to their founding affidavit. One of these was the “The Phased Decision Making Approach for implementing the nuclear programme (referred to in annexure ZM17, to the answering affidavit at page 1281)”.

The eventual response from Government, on 25th August 2016, was, in effect, a flat refusal to share these documents, once again highlighting the lack of transparency that has characterised this nuclear procurement process.

In specific reference to the request for the “phased decision making” for the nuclear build, the government’s response is “… that the document is privileged on the basis that it is state documents on a high level of government and therefore applicants are not entitled to inspect it or to make copies thereof”.

SAFCEI and ELA-JHB believe that SA has already committed to buying nuclear reactors from Russia, and have taken the government to court because of this.
“But it seems the only time that South Africans will get to understand the process is when it is too late and we have to pay for a fleet of nuclear reactors we didn’t ask for”, said McDaid.

Ends.

For further information, please contact

Ms Dominique Doyle (ELA-Jhb)
email: dominique@earthlife.org.za
Cell: 079 331 2028

Ms Liziwe McDaid (SACEI)
email: liziwe@mweb.co.za
082 731 5643

Note for journalists:
The original electricity plan, the IRP2010 contains the proposed 9.6GW nuclear build. The IRP was supposed to be updated regularly and a draft IRP update was released in 2013 for comment. This questioned the commitment to nuclear but was never finalised. Since that time, the IRP update has yet to be published, and even the IRP2013 is now out of date.
Given the falling prices of renewable energy and the increasing costs of nuclear, it is likely that a new IRP update is even less likely to recommend firm commitments to nuclear.
This latest nuclear procurement pronouncement of government comes at a time when it is rumoured that the IRP update (electricity plan) is about to be published. According to a DoE report to parliament earlier this year, the national energy and electricity plan update (the IRP) is supposed to be published by the end of August 2016. Parliament was supposed to receive an update of the IEP and IRP this week but it has been delayed again until next week.

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