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SA losing nuclear skills

May 26 2010 11:43 Francois Williams

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Cape Town - About 250 employees of the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor company (PBMR) have already resigned and many of them are moving overseas, Solidarity trade union spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans said in response to enquiry on Tuesday.

On Wednesday the unions will hold another meeting with the PBMR management, in terms of the process prescribed in Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.

It has been reliably ascertained that only about 40 people will ultimately remain at the company.

Kleynhans said that Solidarity had already approached Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan to intervene to prevent scarce nuclear power skills being lost to South Africa. There is a crisis because time is running out.

Solidarity's original proposal was that entities like Eskom, the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa and the National Energy Regulator should work closely together to retain skills, but no one is taking the lead, said Kleynhans.

Every day more workers are resigning and being taken up elsewhere - mainly overseas. Many are going to the US, which is building two new nuclear power stations.

Stratek consultant Dr Kelvin Kemm said government’s decision to scale down the PBMR project was premature. As for criticism that the project was too expensive, Kemm says this should be seen in perspective.

The cost of the entire PBMR project to date is about 5% of that of one of the new coal-fired power stations, or 70% of the expenditure on the stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.

- Sake24.com


For business news in Afrikaans, go to www.sake24.com
solidarity  |  nersa  |  pbmr
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