Possible public debate on nuclear gets a rousing welcome | Fin24
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Possible public debate on nuclear gets a rousing welcome

May 02 2017 19:19

Cape Town - The willingness by Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi to open the nuclear debate to the public, following a high court judgment seen as a blow to government's nuclear energy plans, has been lauded on Tuesday.

This follows a call by independent economic risk consultant, Rob Jeffrey, saying that South Africa’s entire energy programme, including renewables, should be reconsidered and publicly debated.

READ: Economist calls for debate on SA's entire energy plan

In her first briefing to Parliament’s energy committee, Kubayi said she supported the need for public engagement and participation in the debate on nuclear energy.

"The committee welcomes this willingness particularly because of the court judgment which set aside the procurement of nuclear energy," it said in a statement.

"The committee is also encouraged by the manner in which the minister has been open and transparent in dealing with a number of questions that arose from members of the committee, particularly from issues that are facing the department and entities that fall under the responsibility of the department."

READ: Nuclear deal brought to its knees

The Western Cape High Court last week ruled that certain of the government's decisions in respect of the procurement of nuclear new generation capacity, were unlawful and unconstitutional. It also set aside government's nuclear cooperation agreements with the US, Russia and South Korea.

Responding to the ruling, the energy department reiterated that the government had not entered into any deal or signed any contract for the procurement of nuclear power.

READ: Kemm: Court ruling didn't kill off SA’s nuclear plan

The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) cautioned against misinterpreting the court's judgment

"[T]he response that this has killed off SA’s nuclear build programme is an over reaction and damaging to the country’s international reputation and commercial standing," it said in a statement issued on Friday.

"The judgment is a setback, but certainly not a derailment as many commentators are repeating. Caution and good sense should apply until all the implications are fully understood."

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