NECSA responds to DA statements on nuclear new build programme

JULY 6, 2015

The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) on Monday said that it "refutes views expressed in articles published in various media today allegedly originating from a press statement by the Democratic Alliance (DA) regarding South Africa’s nuclear new build programme". 

"The DA statement is full of evident untruths.  It creates an impression that, in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is the Nuclear Regulator that should give a final recommendation on whether a government should commence a nuclear build programme.

"Nothing can be further from the truth. The National Nuclear Regulator has a very important role in a country’s nuclear programme, but the expansion of nuclear power is a policy decision of the government," Necsa said in a statement.

Necas said that South Africa’s nuclear new build programme is based on the IAEA milestones - which is why, government hosted an IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission.

"The aim was to assess South Africa’s compliance with international standards in preparation for the nuclear new build programme. The results of this overwhelmingly positive review will be made public soon.

"The statement’s reference to lack of transparency is no longer reasonable given the pledges made by the government.  The Inter-Governmental Agreements on nuclear cooperation signed with various countries have been submitted to Parliament for its deliberation and ratification.  Prior to that it was necessary that they be treated with due care and confidentiality."

Necsa further said that the Minister of Energy, in her 2015 budget vote speech, undertook that the procurement process due to commence in the second half of this year will be competitive, fair, transparent and cost effective. 

"This is what the critics of the process have been calling for.

"The R1 trillion figure, often repeated in the media, is totally unfounded.  By international comparison it is not conceivable that only South Africa’s nuclear new build programme could cost that much," read the statement. 

"Contrary to the statement and the articles the nuclear new build programme will contribute to energy security, economic growth, infrastructure development, skills development and job creation. Most importantly, and in line with the current global consensus, nuclear power will contribute to the reduction of South Africa’s carbon footprint.

"Nuclear power is key to the fight against climate change."