Joemat-Pettersson wants nuclear under IPP office

Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – The 9 600 MW nuclear procurement programme should be run by the Independent Power Producer's (IPP) office, Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Tuesday.

The renewable energy IPP procurement programme has been praised internationally for government’s successful partnership with the private sector, Joemat-Pettersson told the Portfolio Committee on Energy in parliament.

The IPP office is a partnership between the DoE, Treasury and the Development Bank of South Africa. Joemat-Pettersson also wants the auditor general to form part of the office.

“If the IPP programme has delivered such good results, then we believe we are on the right track,” she said. “We now have an IPP for gas and coal and hence our request to do nuclear along the IPP base,” she said.

“We have a credible and sound unit that has worked with the private sector and government,” she said.

The minister once again emphasised that no nuclear deal had been signed and that transparency was paramount to the programme. Following the signing of various nuclear procurement inter-governmental agreements, a Government Gazette was published in December 2015 that authorised the DoE to proceed with its request for proposals.

Joemat-Pettersson said the office of the IPP will assist the DoE once it has received the request for proposals to assess the costs and affordability of the nuclear programme, “once we have tested the market”.

Once the nuclear programme requirements have been finalised, the true cost of nuclear energy will be made public, which will “dispel the myth of the R1trn cost,” said Joemat-Pettersson. “The request for proposals will assist us with this cost analysis.”

“There is no nuclear deal that has been signed,” she said. “I have published every document that has been signed. If there is a deal, I don’t know about it.”

“The costing (report) that has been done is preliminary,” she said. “The one (figure) is very far from R1trn. I cannot release preliminary figures because it will create too much confusion.”

“We will make the procurement process available to the public and increase awareness around nuclear energy,” she said.

“We are fully committed to a process with the procurement prescripts in line with Treasury,” she said. “We will be comfortable once the programme is on track.”