new nuclear build
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By Knox Msebenzi   – NIASA Managing Director

The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) welcomes the Request for Information (RFI) for the South African nuclear new build programme by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy DMRE) on 14 June 2020.

Following a widely accepted Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) of 2019, the DMRE is rightfully implementing the elements contained in the IRP.

The IRP reflects the consistency of the government’s energy policy – which advocates for a robust energy mix.

This process will enable interested parties to submit their proposals to the Department. This will enable the Government to make decisions on the best way forward regarding nuclear new build.

Read more: South Africa begins preparatory work for nuclear build programme

A similar call was made in 2016 for the RFI to be submitted to Eskom. The anti-nuclear formations hastily took the government to court and the judge declared the process unlawful, purely on procedural grounds.

The Cape High Court ordered that the process be set aside; including all Inter-Governmental Agreements as they had not been subjected to a Parliamentary ratification process.

Some media houses, media in collusion with the anti-nuclear lobby, hailed this a success to halt the so-called “nuclear deal” with the Russians and yet the process applied to all vendors.

It has now been reported that the very same anti-nuclear lobbyists have threatened that they would go to court if Minister Mantashe “tried to procure nuclear power, or seek information about it from vendors, without following proper regulatory processes and seeking public input”.

Read more: Youth Month fitting for RFI on South Africa’s new nuclear build programme

RFI will debunk myths about nuclear

It is worth noting that the IRP process involved comprehensive public consultation and so it is very suspicious what these activists mean when they allude to lack of public input.

Besides, the RFI is not a licence application for a nuclear installation or let alone a procurement process.

A Government eTenders portal (http://www.etenders.gov.za) clearly provides a distinction between an RFI, RFP and RFQ, so it’s baffling for this lobbyists to threaten the Minister on these grounds.

Due process will be followed when this stage is reached. It is interesting to note that the lobbyists are determined to keep the South African public ignorant of the advantages that a nuclear new build will bring.

Read more: South Africa: Participants urged to present accurate data for nuclear programme

This RFI will also debunk the myths that have been peddled all along, that nuclear is too expensive for South Africa. If they are confident about the lack of credibility of nuclear, then why are they afraid of a process that will yield credible information on which government can make a decision?

When we become a society reduced to legalistic processes that prevent economic development and social progress as a means to achieve certain ideological agendas, then we have a serious problem.

NIASA is fully supportive of the DMRE’s RFI and subsequent processes and our members will avail their expertise in this regard.