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In South Africa, nuclear plans might not proceed: parliament approval is necessary

questionflag-S.AfricaNuclear build plans need Parliament’s approval, MPs told http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2015/10/13/nuclear-build-plans-need-parliaments-approval-mps-told BY LINDA ENSOR, 13 OCTOBER 2015, IT WAS “HIGHLY IMPROBABLE” THAT GOVERNMENT WOULD PROCEED WITH THE NUCLEAR BUILD PROGRAMME WITHOUT IT FIRST BEING APPROVED BY PARLIAMENT, TREASURY DIRECTOR-GENERAL LUNGISA FUZILE TOLD PARLIAMENT’S FINANCE COMMITTEE ON TUESDAY.

All expenditure had to be reflected in the medium-term expenditure framework, which was subject to parliamentary approval and possible amendment, Mr Fuzile said in reply to questions by Democratic Alliance finance spokesman David Maynier. Mr Maynier was concerned about a comment made by President Jacob Zuma in August that the nuclear procurement would have been completed by the end of the current financial year.

The committee met to discuss the Treasury’s annual report.

Concern over government’s intentions mounted after it signed cooperation agreements with Russia, China, France and the US and seemed to be on the verge of clinching a deal with Russian energy company Rosatom. Energy Minister Tina Joematt-Pettersson has strongly rejected any suggestion that a deal has been concluded. There have also been public demands for greater transparency in the entire procurement process.

Mr Fuzile stressed that the process of finalising plans was still at its “very early stages”. The 2010 integrated resource plan included nuclear energy as one of the sources of power indicating that SA was open to the idea of nuclear. The government had been gearing itself up to understand nuclear better, Mr Fuzile said.

The Treasury had completed some work on the costing and financing models for a nuclear programme but it was classified information that the cabinet had not seen yet. Officials had discussed what elements of the work could be communicated in the public interest but to do this would require that it be declassified.

Mr Maynier has failed in his attempts to get information on the nature of the studies undertaken by the Treasury and their contents. Committee chairman Yunus Carrim emphasised the importance of the issue being discussed. “We have to know what the costs are,” he said and undertook to expedite arrangements to have a joint sitting with the energy committee.

Energy committee chairman Fikile Majola has committed himself to holding public hearings on the nuclear build programme, which opponents say will be too costly, especially given SA’s low growth prospects.

Mr Carrim noted that the African National Congress had decided at its national general council meeting at the weekend that a cost-benefit analysis be undertaken of the nuclear proposals.

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October 14, 2015 - Posted by | politics, South Africa

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