Cabinet has final word on nuclear - Radebe

Cape Town – The Department of Energy (DoE) will have to report back to Cabinet regarding requests for proposals for the new nuclear build programme before a final decision on nuclear energy is made, says Energy Minister Jeff Radebe.

He was responding in a written reply to a question by DA MP Gavin Davis related to the nuclear programme. Davis enquired on the details of the programme. 

“There is no binding commercial and financial information secured yet to assist with the nuclear expansion programme,” said Radebe.

“When Cabinet approved in December 2015 that the Request for Proposal be issued, the main intention was to test the market, a process which would allow the determination of the pace and scale that the country can afford.”

Cabinet decided on November 2 2016 that the ministers of finance, energy and public enterprises were tasked to ensure that the scaling and phasing of the programme was “in the interests of the country,” Radebe explained.

Eskom is to be the owner operator and procurer for the nuclear plant and the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) would be the owner operator for the nuclear fuel cycle and multi-purpose reactor.

In March, Parliament’s portfolio committee on energy heard from the DoE Director General Thabane Zulu that nuclear energy is part of SA's new Integrated Resources Plan. “It is not about whether nuclear is part of the energy mix, but rather how to implement it,” he told the committee.

The DoE is working on a roadmap for nuclear power in SA, Zulu previously said.

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