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13 September 2016

NIASA calls for transparent procurement process

The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) welcomes the announcement of the RFP date – 30 September 2016 – for South Africa's nuclear power programme.

Last week, NIASA released a statement welcoming the much anticipated request for proposal for the procurement of nuclear power stations as part of the broader Nuclear Build Programme.

Stating that nuclear is a critical part of the energy mix, but noting that it is not the only solution, the association explained that Nuclear is an efficient and environmentally safe way to generate sufficient base load power, which is necessary to grow our economy.

NIASA demands process to be fair and transparent

The association said in a statement: "NIASA echoes and supports the calls for transparency in the nuclear build programme in its entirety, but further extends its calls for an emphasis towards localisation, local content and skills development as founding principals for the selection of the winning vendor(s).

"[This is] in order to ensure tangible development and meaningful employment for the communities where the plants will be located and the people of South Africa as a whole."

Knox Msebenzi, managing director of NIASA, said: “The nuclear project will not only support industry and create much needed employment, it will also create a platform upon which our economy can grow and develop.

"NIASA is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that the next nuclear build project is transparently and professionally managed through all phases of its development.”

Ensuring successful delivery

"As a country we have experience in large scale projects and we have varied experts to advise and guide us towards the successful delivery of the project over the next 20 years. We can draw valuable insights from both our successful projects and the not so successful ones and improve on our performance accordingly," Msebenzi said.

The association noted that when it comes to financing, the official RFP and response of vendors will be the first indication of what nuclear energy will cost the fiscus, it will allow an accurate allocation of nuclear capacity as part of the energy mix of the new IRP and therefore guide the industry of the accurate figures and in turn open up the debate on the various financing and risk mitigation models.

Therefore, any assertions and pronouncements in this regard are premature and untested at present.

"It is up to government to find the optimal financing with the multiple objectives of security of electrical power supply and economic development.

"Whatever model [is] chosen, it should ideally have sufficient flexibility to allow for adjustments of the timing of the construction of the fleet over the planned horizon," Msebenzi said.

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