The nuclear new build programme has suffered the unbridled mangling by various role-players, relentlessly to an extent that it has been soiled enough to assume the undesired status of a crude swear word, Choeu said in a statement today.
However, a close observation of the complexion and tenor of the discourse does not betray a deliberate attempt to fully understand the mechanics of this irretrievably technical subject. There is a general lack of the appreciation of the national value proposition innate to the nuclear new build, as a socio-economic solution.
The current narrative lacks the nuance attendant to productive national discourses, as prominent public voices either lack the scholarly grasp of the permutations of nuclear or are too self-invested to consider the natural benefits of nuclear. This is obviously a substantive conversation better delved into at a different moment.
Nuclear procurement: response to media
Today I want to attend to the Business Day’s article of 11 January. Titled “Eskom lays claim to nuclear buying”, the article caricatures Eskom as an all-powerful, over-ambitious, company capable of elbowing the custodian of nuclear policy from its constitutional role. It erroneously claims that Eskom managed to usurp the nuclear procurement from the Department of Energy (DoE).
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Setting the record straight
The Section 34 determination was amended for the sole intention to enable Eskom to take a lead in the nuclear new build programme. This point is sufficiently expounded in the supplementary affidavit relating to the Earthlife Africa’s matter. It defies all shades of logic to suggest that Eskom can successfully rise against our own shareholder representative, which is technically the case owing to the fact that we are state-owned.
The supplementary affidavit doesn’t allude to Eskom refusing permission for the DoE to proceed with the nuclear project. In fact, DoE has the national mandate to decide on the nuclear new build programme; this falls within their purview and cannot be extricated by Eskom, or any entity for that matter. This is a non-negotiable policy matter and Eskom cannot reasonably, or otherwise, stake a claim thereof.
Instead, the affidavit provides the reasons why Eskom is best-suited to take the lead on the programme and the intrinsic rationale pertaining to the reasons Section 34 determination had to be amended to give effect thereto. The determination consequently designates Eskom as the procurer of the nuclear new build programme.
The affidavit has been either grossly misconstrued or a deliberate story was written to cast Eskom and the nuclear new build in a negative light. It is not within the realm of possibilities for Eskom to grant permission to a policy-maker on the forward-looking (or any) direction.
This is a regrettable brave-faced slander which scoffs at all manner of logic and Eskom rejects it.