SA's Nuclear procurement not placed on hold

Pretoria - The Department of Energy has refuted claims that South Africa’s nuclear procurement process has been stalled indefinitely.

The department says it has noted that a member of the opposition in the Portfolio Committee on Energy stated that the nuclear procurement process has been put on hold.

“The department would like to refute these claims and place on record that in the same meeting that the member is referring to, Minister Joemat-Pettersson -- while responding to a question posed by the member of the opposition on why the deadline for the release of the Request For Proposal (RFP) was not met -- replied that the process … was delayed to allow a consultative process among all stakeholders,” said the department.

The consultation process has not yet been concluded and the RFP will be issued as soon as this process is concluded. The department said the process is continuing and should not be rushed.

The Minister also said she is aware of the current legal challenges on the nuclear process and would not jeopardise the process. She would be mindful of any resulting legal judgments.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Jacob Zuma said the nuclear energy expansion programme remains a part of South Africa’s future energy mix. He said nuclear will only be procured at a scale that the country can afford.

“Our plan is to introduce 9 600 megawatts of nuclear energy in the next decade, in addition to running Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant. We will test the market to ascertain the true cost of building modern nuclear plants,” said President Zuma.