Energy Dept urged to elaborate on nuclear bid list

Cape Town – A list of consultants and firms that helped create the Department of Energy’s (DoE) nuclear strategy over the past five years leaves more questions than answers, according to the Democratic Alliance (DA).

In a statement on Monday, the DoE revealed firms it had sourced or procured to “conduct thorough investigations on different aspects of the nuclear new build programme before a procurement decision is taken”.

It said the National Development Plan (NDP) said South Africa needed a thorough investigation on the implications of nuclear energy, including its costs, financing options, institutional arrangements, safety, environmental costs and benefits, localisation and employment opportunities, and uranium enrichment and fuel fabrication possibilities.

“In line with the NDP directive the DoE, in conjunction with other organs of state (within the Energy Security Cabinet Sub-Structures) has, over the past five years, been developing various strategies and policies and as a result has commissioned independent studies to create a framework for the procurement decision and the preparation for the procurement of the nuclear new build programme.”

Bid list raises questions

The list – shown below – raises questions according to DA nuclear spokesperson Gordon Mackay.

He said the five year period stated was likely a “red herring” and said the “DoE annual reports show no expenditure on these items”.

“The statement fails to explain why the department utilised an obscure, already existing tender in the Free State,” he told Fin24 on Monday.

“Why (does) National Treasury have no record of the tender in question or who authorised the deviation from standard procurement procedures,” he queried.

“Further - if only R200m was allocated for preparing work on the nuclear deal in the past financial year - of which R171m was allocated to Empire Technology - what funds were used to acquire the other listed services?”

Mackay said the government is “back peddling at an alarming rate in an attempt to cover its tracks”.

He will write the DoE, asking for the tender document, the bid award document, the value in rands of each contract, and which department's budgets were utilised and in which financial year.

This list of firms (and what they delivered) are:

  • Ingerop: Cost of Nuclear Power,
  • KPMG: Procurement Framework,
  • Ingerop: Owner-Operator and Financing Structures,
  • Deloitte: Finance Options Models Solutions,
  • Deloitte: Deferred Return On Government Investor Approach,
  • Ingerop: Economic Impact of Localisation of Nuclear New Build Programme,
  • Nathan Gift Nhlapho Incorporated: Feasibility Study on Effective Independence of the National Nuclear Regulator.
  • Nathan Gift Nhlapho Incorporated: Requirements, Considerations and Necessary Arrangements by the Government in Order for South Africa to Accede to One of the IAEA Nuclear Liability Conventions.
  • Zimkile Consulting: The Development of Training Programme of First Responders for Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies
  • University of Pretoria: A Detailed Financing Model for the Radioactive Waste Management Fund
  • Mzansi Energy Solutions and Innovations Pty: Feasibility Study on the withdrawal of Safeguards Function from NECSA
  • Mahlako-A-Phahla Investments (with sub-contracting to Ledwaba Mazwai Attorneys and WorleyParsons) Pre-Procurement Readiness Assessment.
  • Empire Technology: Programme Management System

Site licence comments extended

In related nuclear news, Eskom said the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) officially extended the comment period for interested and affected parties with regard to its application for the Nuclear Installation Site Licence (NISL) in Thyspunt (Eastern Cape) and Duynefontyn (Western Cape).

“Interested and affected parties can comment from today up until Wednesday, 19 October 2016,” it said in a statement on Monday.

“The notice of the extension of the comment period was published in the National Gazette on Friday last week (16 September 2016) and in the Provincial Gazette today, 19 September.”  

Koeberg unit 1 down for maintenance

In more related nuclear news, Eskom said that unit 1 of the Koeberg nuclear station will be taken offline for a planned refuelling outage after a safe record-setting continuous run of 474 days.

“The refuelling outage takes just over a month and the unit is expected back online towards the end of October 2016,” Eskom said in a statement on Monday.  

Koeberg Unit 2 is currently operating optimally and is contributing 930MW to the national grid, Eskom said.

Every 15 to 18 months, each of the two units at Koeberg is shut down for refuelling, inspection and maintenance. This routine maintenance is part of Eskom’s overall maintenance programme for its fleet of generation units. Outages are scheduled so as to avoid having both units out of service at the same time and to avoid the winter months in each year.

“During these routine outages, one third of the used nuclear fuel is replaced with new fuel,” it said. “Maintenance, plant modifications, inspections and statutory work to ensure that international safety standards continue to be met and that reliable plant performance continues, are performed.”

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