Necsa dismisses R1 trillion cost claims for new nuclear build programme

06 July 2015 - 18:52 By RDM News Wire

The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) has refuted reports that the country’s nuclear new build programme will cost around R1 trillion‚ saying that by international comparison it is inconceivable that it could cost that much. Necsa was responding to views expressed in articles published in various media on Monday allegedly originating from a press statement by the Democratic Alliance (DA) regarding South Africa’s nuclear new build programme which it charged was full of “evident untruths”.“It creates an impression that‚ in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)‚ it is the Nuclear Regulator that should give a final recommendation on whether a government should commence a nuclear build programme. Nothing can be further from the truth.“The National Nuclear Regulator has a very important role in a country’s nuclear programme‚ but the expansion of nuclear power is a policy decision of the government‚” the regulator asserted. It added that South Africa’s nuclear new build programme was based on the IAEA milestones.“It was for this reason that our government hosted an IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission. The aim was to assess South Africa’s compliance with international standards in preparation for the nuclear new build programme. The results of this overwhelmingly positive review will be made public soon‚” Necsa said.It added that the statement’s reference to lack of transparency was no longer reasonable given the pledges made by the government. “The Inter-Governmental Agreements on nuclear cooperation signed with various countries have been submitted to Parliament for its deliberation and ratification. Prior to that it was necessary that they be treated with due care and confidentiality.“Furthermore the Minister of Energy‚ in her 2015 budget vote speech‚ undertook that the procurement process due to commence in the second half of this year will be competitive‚ fair‚ transparent and cost effective. This is what the critics of the process have been calling for‚” the nuclear regulator stated.“The R1 trillion figure‚ often repeated in the media‚ is totally unfounded. By international comparison it is not conceivable that only South Africa’s nuclear new build programme could cost that much‚” it added. Contrary to the statement and the articles‚ Necsa said‚ the nuclear new build programme would contribute to energy security‚ economic growth‚ infrastructure development‚ skills development and job creation.“Most importantly‚ and in line with the current global consensus‚ nuclear power will contribute to the reduction of South Africa’s carbon footprint. Nuclear power is key to the fight against climate change.”-RDM News Wire

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