Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has committed the government to transparent and cost-effective nuclear energy procurement, saying there is no rush to strike a deal
Speaking in Pretoria yesterday, Joemat-Pettersson said the estimated R1-trillion price tag for the eight nuclear reactors, which will together generate 9600MW, was not the department’s figure.
“There is no deal. We have not committed ourselves to doing anything. Once we have taken those decisions, we will commit ourselves and announce them,” she said.
Joemat-Pettersson said her department would present the agreements signed with various countries, including Russia and France, to the parliamentary portfolio committee on energy today.
Concern is mounting that agreements to build the nuclear power plants – in what would be the most expensive procurement in this country’s history – will be made behind closed doors.
But Joemat-Pettersson said: “Once we have taken a decision as a government and cabinet, we will communicate it. There is no secrecy. It will be a transparent and cost-effective process.”
She said South Africa was focusing on renewable and gas-fired power generation to ameliorate the energy shortage in the short term.
But new renewable energy projects would find it hard to feed their power into the national grid. The department is working with Eskom to improve access to new projects.
“We need to upgrade the grid so the new projects can feed it,” the independent power producers’ unit at Eskom said.