In South Africa, political party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), is questioning Treasury and the Department of Energy following a National Treasury official receiving training in nuclear finance at a cost of ZAR500,000 ($35,607.98) in the 2014/15 financial year.
According to statement issued by the DA, this information, which was disclosed in National Treasury’s 2015/15 annual report, goes against claims made by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson saying that the Treasury had only recently been invited into the decision-making process on the financing of the nuclear build programme.
Nuclear build programme
The country is in the process of finalising a new nuclear build programme, which is estimated to cost between ZAR400 billion and ZAR1 trillion ($32 billion to $81 billion) to build six nuclear power plants.
Once completed, each of the nuclear plants is expected to supply the country with power for the duration of its 80-year lifespan—adding 9,600MW of power to the national grid.
According to the DA, the annual report indicates that more efforts were put into the feasibility, financing and assessment of alternative energy options, including nuclear energy, than the minister had disclosed. The majority of this work was completed before the end of the 2014/15 financial year.
The annual report indicates that an official or officials of Treasury underwent nuclear finance training, which was sponsored by South Korea.
The DA said: “We cannot sit back and allow the nuclear build programme to go ahead in secret given the massive financial implications for South Africa.”
The DA added in a statement: “The report shows the National Treasury’s Urban Development and Infrastructure Unit completed a study on the feasibility of inter alia nuclear energy for electricity generation in South Africa before the end of the 2014/15 financial year.”
According to the annual report, the unit “completed the update of the liquid fuels sector investment study and several studies on the feasibility of gas, nuclear and regional hydro for electricity generation.”
The annual report states that the Treasury’s Oversight and Governance of State-Owned Enterprises Unit “finalised the report on financing nuclear options, models and solutions and presented to the Nuclear Sub-Work Group on corporate finance and procurement; compiled a memorandum and letter formally submitting the report to the Department of Energy (DOE)”.