NGOs try to stall Eskom nuclear programme

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Eskom said in a statement that the simulation exercises and tests were done regularly to ensure it was prepared to respond "extreme events" and to identify areas that needed improvements.

CAPE TOWN - While Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan seemingly avoided talking about the nuclear build programme in his Budget speech, Eskom’s procurement process continued to the chagrin of different stakeholders.

Non-governmental organisations are trying to use the courts to delay the process, to allocate more time to adequately review and comment.

Makoma Lekalakala of Earthlife Africa said, “It's embarrassing for our democracy for us to be able to get information that was supposed to be in the public domain, through the courts. What we expect from this court hearing is to hold those in the decision making processes to be accountable."

Their legal team is arguing the constitutionality and legality of the entire process, and have used the recent ICC ruling to bolster their argument.

Ideally, the hope is to slow down the project which will cost an estimated R1-trillion.

Activists say this issue is bigger than just the costs.

READ: Eskom: South Africa well-equipped for nuclear energy

Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute spokesperson, Siphokazi Pangalele said, “There's waste that is going to be handled and they have no idea as to what they are going to do with that, so health wise that's an implication. It's not a South African deal, it involves another country that will be bringing their own resources so we doubt very much they will rely on us and our expertise."

In a statement, the energy department says procurements haven't been made as yet, but they would be constitutionally sound once it did.

The NGO’s argue renewable alternatives haven’t been explored and remain the best energy option.

The national energy regulator of South Africa says it supports government's nuclear build programme.

The organisation believes the country would benefit from the energy mix. 

NERSA managing director, Knox Msebenzi stated, "The challenges at this point are political, perhaps propaganda. There seems to be forces saying nuclear is bad or dangerous for the country.

Whoever is propagating that is misinformed. There's some agenda that is anti-nuclear.

We, on the other hand, we believe in government’s approach. I

f you live in the remote parts of the North West, surely for the next 20 years we don't see any possibility of transmission line going there.

For purposes of economic development, job creation, and manufacture and mining, here in SA we have a population similar to South Korea, and they have doubled the amount of electricity.

We need to go to that direction. Let's talk about energy consumption, we are best at 85% electricity penetration, there are 15 citizens without electricity.

How dare we say the money for electricity has come down?"