Ricochet News

Surprise as Duynefontein now preferred nuclear plant site, Kouga to engage Eskom

Oct 13, 2017
Surprise as Duynefontein now preferred nuclear plant site, Kouga to engage Eskom

The Kouga Local Municipality leadership will be meeting with Eskom on Monday to discuss the way forward after the Record of Decision (RoD) for South Africa’s nuclear-build programme, which was released on Friday, surprisingly, identifies Duynefontein near Koeberg as the preferred site - and no longer Thyspunt, near Oyster Bay in the Kouga Local Municipality.

For years now, Thyspunt had been lauded as government's choice for the country's next nuclear power station. There had been opposition and support to the building of the power station at Thyspunt, which was widely considered an economic boost to the region

However, on Friday the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) announced that it had granted Eskom permission to proceed with the nuclear installation at Duynefontein in the Western Cape, which is next to the existing Koeberg power station.

Eskom’s Chief Nuclear Officer, Dave Nicholls said; “We welcome the authorisation by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on the Final Environmental Impact Report (F-EIR) for the Nuclear-1 Power Station and associated infrastructure, and consider this an important milestone in the development process of South Africa’s nuclear programme. 

"While we had worked on Thyspunt being the preferred site according to the F-EIR compiled by an independent environmental practitioner GIBB, we have always considered both sites equally capable of hosting a nuclear power plant. To this end, we had progressed the Nuclear Installation Site Licence (NISL) to the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) for both sites.”

At the beginning of the project, five alternative siting areas were investigated at the scoping phase, which are Brazil and Schulpfontein in the Northern Cape on the west coast between Kleinzee and Hondeklip Bay; Bantamsklip in the Western Cape on the coast next to Pearly Beach east of Hermanus; Duynefontein in the Western Cape next to the existing Koeberg power station and Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape on the coast between Oyster Bay and St Francis Bay.

Following the scoping phase, Brazil and Schulpfontein were excluded from further detailed specialist environmental studies for the Nuclear-1 EIA. It is important to note that the other four sites are still usable in the future as no fatal flaws have been identified.

Nicholls adds, “Throughout the EIA process, more than thirty five (35) studies were undertaken, with some revised and updated, by experienced specialists and a comprehensive Public Participation Process (PPP) was undertaken. The granted authorisation is confirmation of the adequacy of the extensive work undertaken.”

Going forward, GIBB and Eskom will interrogate the decision and will work within the regulations in terms of available options.