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South Africa inquiry hears how former president Jacob Zuma pressed for ‘astronomically expensive’ nuclear deal

#StateCaptureInquiry: ‘If nuclear had proceeded, SA would’ve been in trouble’ https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/statecaptureinquiry-if-nuclear-had-proceeded-sa-wouldve-been-in-trouble-19365917 18 FEBRUARY 2019, ZINTLE MAHLATI  JOHANNESBURG – Former National Treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile has corroborated former minister Nhlanhla Nene’s evidence regarding pressure to implement the nuclear deal.

Fuzile returned to the state capture inquiry on Monday to finalise aspects of his testimony.
He told the commission of a meeting with former president Jacob Zuma where the nuclear deal was discussed.
He said Zuma made various comments that were concerning. And even with doubts from Treasury and Nene, there was pressure to go ahead with the deal.
Nene had testified when he appeared last year at the inquiry that the nuclear deal would have cost a lot of money and place massive risk on the country’s fiscus.
“The costs associated with it were astronomical. The envisaged 9.6 GW programme would have constituted the largest investment project in SA history. The investment required would have been estimated at R200 billion for a phased approach,” said Nene.
Fuzile said in a meeting with Zuma on the eve of Nene’s firing, officials from Treasury explained to Zuma and other officials why the project would be a risk yet Cabinet moved to approve the first phase of the deal.
“This was the biggest procurement ever in the history of the country, yet the processes were rushed and some of the stuff that was talked about was not followed. If nuclear had proceeded, this country would have been in trouble. The process that was followed was seriously flawed. There was a brushing aside of the true cost of the project,” said Fuzile.
Zuma commented that Fuzile and former minister Pravin Gordhan had stopped the PetrolSA Engen deal and said it was Treasury’s job to find the money.
Nene had testified that he suspects he was fired because of his objection to the nuclear deal.
Lungisa also touched on the PetroSA deal which did not go through, something Zuma appeared unhappy about.
He also testified about concerns from some board members at South Africa Airways (SAA) about the Airbus deal.
Lungisa also noted the resistance for the removal of former SAA board chair Dudu Myeni. He said it did not make sense why there was so much resistance especially as lenders for SAA did not enjoy working with the SAA board led by Myeni
Lungisa’s testimony was largely focused on corroborating information already provided by Nene and Gordhan when they appeared at the inquiry last year.
The inquiry continues.
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February 19, 2019 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty ratified by Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe ratifies global nuclear treaty, https://www.newtimes.co.rw/africa/zimbabwe-global-nuclear-treaty, 15 Feb 19, Zimbabwe on Wednesday ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, becoming the world’s 168th country to adopt the treaty that prohibits all nuclear weapon explosions including tests.

Endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 10, 1996, the treaty nearly gained universal adherence, with 184 states having signed and 168 having ratified. However, it has not yet entered into force.

After ratifying the treaty, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the country’s ratification was a sign of the changing times. “Zimbabwe has now today deposited its instruments for ratification after a period of 20 years.”

Mnangagwa said the decision was made due to a new dispensation in the country. “The environment is different and we think it is proper that Zimbabwe sides with those 167 other nations who have ratified against nuclear proliferation.”

“Zimbabwe is an important country in Africa. Like what the president said, it is a new time, new era. Things are moving, and Zimbabwe is showing to the international community that things are changing,” he said.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | AFRICA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Is nuclear power REALLY a clean-power fix for Africa – as Russia and China push it

Russia, China back nuclear as a clean-power fix for Africa

Money Web , Sebastien Malo, Thomson Reuters Foundation  /  10 February 2019  “…….For now, South Africa is the only country on the continent operating a nuclear power plant.

But in recent years, at least seven other sub-Saharan African states have signed agreements to deploy nuclear power with backing from Russia, according to public announcements and the World Nuclear Association (WNA), an industry body………

Like Ethiopia, emerging nuclear states Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia and Ghana have signed agreements with Russia’s state nuclear corporation, ROSATOM – most since 2016.

Their content ranges from language on the construction of nuclear reactors to assistance with feasibility studies and personnel training, press statements show.

ROSATOM’s solutions for managing spent fuel and radioactive waste vary from country to country, but are normally worked out at the later stages of a nuclear new-build programme “in the strictest compliance with international law”, a spokeswoman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Chinese state-owned nuclear firms have also taken the lead in the region, sealing deals with Kenya, Sudan and Uganda, WNA data shows.

South African student Masamaki Masanja, 23, won a ROSATOM competition for young people to make videos about Africa’s nuclear potential, and got to visit the Novovoronezh nuclear power plant in western Russia in 2017.

“It was mind-blowing,” said the second-year mechanical engineering student, via Skype.

The experience left him with a strong sense that nuclear power should be adapted quickly for Africa’s needs………

Rebel risk

Some political observers, however, are concerned about the prospect of nuclear reactors backed by Russia in some countries with rebel groups and weak government institutions.

An Africa-based Western diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous, doubted Russia’s assurances it would collect nuclear waste from projects it helped establish.

“You could end up with very unfortunate situations in parts of Africa … if you have a decaying nuclear power plant overrun by rebels, with waste that’s not going away,” he said.

Multiple requests for an interview with Russia’s ambassador in Ethiopia were declined.

So-called dirty bombs can combine conventional explosives like dynamite with radioactive material such as nuclear waste. ………

It could take 20 years for Ethiopia to build a nuclear power plant, estimated Hong-Jun Ahn, a Korean electrical engineer who advises the Ethiopian government on its nuclear plans.

Yonas Gebru, director of Addis Ababa-based advocacy group Forum for Environment, said green activists could prove another hurdle amid debate over whether nuclear power is “clean” energy.

“It would be good, and it would be wise also … to better capitalise on already started initiatives such as hydropower, wind energy (and) solar energy,” said Gebru. https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/africa/russia-china-back-nuclear-as-a-clean-power-fix-for-africa/

February 12, 2019 Posted by | AFRICA, China, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Despite the severe disadvantages to Uganda, of nuclear power, Uganda’s govt succumbs to China’s nuclear marketing

Uganda to generate nuclear energy amidst safety, environmental concerns, DAVID MAFABI | PML Daily Senior Staff Writer KAMPALA Uganda is in the final stages of efforts to start generating some 2000 megawatts of electricity from five nuclear plants it plans to build in five districts scattered in the country’s four geographical regions……..

February 11, 2019 Posted by | AFRICA, China, marketing | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma and corruption

Jacob Zuma given bags stuffed with cash every month for years, inquiry told The Times, 1 Feb 19, A bag stuffed with 300,000 rand in cash — about £17,000 — was delivered to Jacob Zuma when he was South African president every month for years by a corrupt business buying contracts and protection from prosecutors, an inquiry has been told.

The claim was made during extraordinary testimony by a whistleblower from a security company said to have bankrolled the extravagant lifestyles of Mr Zuma and other leading African National Congress (ANC) figures.

Angelo Agrizzi told the Zondo commission investigating South Africa’s biggest post-apartheid scandal that he personally organised much of the cash counting, gift buying and “special services” to Mr Zuma and his acolytes on behalf of a company, Bosasa, in return for state contracts……(Subscribers only) ……https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/south-africa-jacob-zuma-given-bags-stuffed-with-cash-every-month-for-years-inquiry-told-z0cw3n6l0

February 2, 2019 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Solar power has had a “life-changing impact” for Malawi village communities

BBC 21st Jan 2019 The project has helped businesses in Malawi to generate electricity from
solar power. A solar power project to connect villages in Malawi has had a
“life-changing” impact for rural communities.

The initiative, led by Strathclyde University researchers, has seen affordable energy supply
businesses set up in four villages. The partnership, which has been backed
by a £600,000 grant from the Scottish government, ensures locals own and
operate the equipment. It includes battery chargers and power connections
for other small businesses. Only 12% of Malawi’s 18 million population is
connected to the main electricity grid, which dips to 2% in rural areas.
For the vast majority the main energy source is open fires, which puts
pressure on the country’s forests.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk- scotland-glasgow-west-46890999

January 22, 2019 Posted by | decentralised, Malawi | Leave a comment

South Africa. Challenge against removal of nuclear corp. board struck from urgent court roll 

Challenge against removal of nuclear corp. board struck from urgent court roll   https://www.fin24.com/Economy/challenge-against-removal-of-nuclear-corp-board-struck-from-urgent-court-roll-20190118   Jan 18 2019 , Lameez Omarjee, Fin24     

An application challenging the removal of three board members from the Southern African Nuclear Energy Corporation has been stuck from the urgent court roll.

Necsa conducts research and development in the field of nuclear energy, radiation sciences and technology. It is also responsible for uranium enrichment.

In late 2018 Energy Minister Jeff Radebe dissolved the corporation’s board.

At the time Radebe mentioned a mentioned a laundry list of alleged governance failures, including:

  • legislative non-compliance;
  • non-adherence to specific instructions from the department of energy;
  • financial mismanagement;
  • remuneration irregularities;
  • unauthorised international travel; and
  • a memorandum of understanding signed with Russian firm Rosatom despite the minister’s instructions not to.

new board was announced in early December.

Former Necsa board chairperson Dr Kelvin Kemm, the group’s suspended CEO Phumzile Tshelane, and the former chair of the board’s audit and compliance subcommittee, Pamela Bosman, are challenging the minister’s decision.

The North Gauteng High Court was to hear the urgent application on Thursday.

But Judge Daisy Molefe struck it from the roll, given the volume of paperwork lawyers for Radebe had filed, Kemm’s lawyer Douglas Molepo told Fin24 on Friday morning.

For an urgent action to be heard, papers may not exceed 500 pages.

According to Molepo, lawyers for the minister had filed an application of 800 pages. The matter will now be heard at a later date.

At the time of publication, the Department of Energy had not yet responded to Fin24’s request for comment.

  

January 19, 2019 Posted by | Legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

‘There should be no nuclear in climate financing’

https://www.dw.com/en/there-should-be-no-nuclear-in-climate-financing/a-4674097813 Jan 19

Prize-winning South African activist Makoma Lekalakala’s successful legal battle to stop a secret nuclear power deal in her homeland won her international acclaim. She tells DW about defending the environment in court.

DW: What have you been campaigning for?

Makoma Lekalakala: My major campaigning issue, it’s mitigation against climate change and with a specific focus on electricity generation in the country [South Africa] — it’s almost 90 percent from coal. And we know that coal is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, so our campaign has been for a just transition towards a low carbon development.

We’re demanding a greater investment in renewable energy technologies, particularly that we can have a decentralized electricity system where solar and wind would play a major role.

The technology, we need a lot of investment in that so that we can be able to eradicate energy poverty. Local people can have their own socially-owned and community-owned renewable energy projects and co-operatives so that they can have access to electricity.

For us to be able to do that, a just transition for us would mean phasing out coal electricity generation and having no nuclear at all as part of the energy mix, and having wind and solar being increased as part of our energy mix.

Our main mission is for me to ensure that, or to advocate that, there should be no nuclear in climate financing.

Why are you against nuclear power?

Earth Life is an anti-nuclear organization, because we believe that nuclear, it’s not safe. It’s an old technology that comes from the war era and it’s not even safe for us to be able to use for various reasons. It’s not economic, it’s quite expensive, it’s not safe, it’s quite dangerous.

We can remember all the accidents that have taken place, from Fukushima, from Three Mile Island, and nuclear also leaves a legacy of radioactiveness for hundreds and hundreds of years to come.

South Africa has got a principal policy on having an energy mix as part of the energy supply of the country. However, that legislation and regulations imply that if we have an energy mix we should also decide what kind of energy we would want to be part of the mix.

What we have in South Africa, which is written in the legislation, is that the energy choice should be least cost. That is having less externalized costs to the environment, to the atmosphere.

This is not the case around nuclear. And what we’ve seen is that the government also had flouted regulations and legislation by forcing some Africans to accept nuclear power.

Can you tell us more about your legal battle against the controversial secret nuclear power deal between South Africa and Russia? 

In 2015 October, Earth Life Africa filed papers against the state president, against the Department of Energy, against the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, because we felt that these three institutions were supposed to be able to forward the information that was public information. It was suspected that the political elites in the country were actually the drivers of the nuclear deal.

We went to the court based on the legislative and regulatory processes in the country that were flouted, not followed, because all the other agreements were done in secret. That’s how the nuclear industry operates.

So we were vindicated that all the processes in the constitution, our regulations, were not followed at all in favor of the Russians to get to build or to construct the nuclear reactors.

One of the main issues why we opposed, or why we are opposing nuclear energy, is that we don’t want to turn our country, our continent and the world as a radioactive zone where life cannot exist.

What are the main environmental issues in South Africa?

The main environmental issue in South Africa, it’s pollution. As we speak now, South Africans, particularly in hotspot pollution areas, are unable to breathe. In Mpumalanga, where there’s almost about 11 coal-fired power stations and coal mines, this is an area that is very highly polluted and it’s one of the most polluted areas in the world.

Makoma Lekalakala is director of Earthlife Africa’s Johannesburg branch, an environmental non-profit organization. Together with Liziwe McDaid, she won the Goldman Environmental Prize for 2018 for stopping a controversial nuclear power deal between South Africa and Russia.

This interview was conducted by Louise Osborne and edited by Melanie Hall.

January 15, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Africa | Leave a comment

USA-China co-operation in removing nuclear material from Nigeria

How the US and China collaborated to get nuclear material out of Nigeria — and away from terrorist groups, Defense News, By: Aaron Mehta, 14 Jan 19,    “……… Moving the nuclear material out of Nigeria has been a long-sought goal for the United States and nonproliferation advocates. But the goal has taken on increased importance in recent years with the rise of militant groups in the region, particularly Boko Haram, a group the Pentagon calls a major terrorist concern in the region.

Underscoring the importance of the operation: the key role China played in transporting and storing the plutonium, with the operation happening just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump made an explicit threat to China about growing America’s nuclear arsenal.
………….Material that is attractive to terrorists’

It was the mid-1990s when Nigeria, with technical support and backing from China, began work on what would become Nigerian Research Reactor 1, located at Ahmadu Bello University in Kaduna. The location opened in 2004, and is home to roughly 170 Nigerian workers.

NIRR-1 is classified as a miniature neutron source reactor, designed for “scientific research, neutron activation analysis, education and training,” per the International Atomic Energy Agency. Essentially, the reactor powers scientific experiments, not the local grid.

The design, however, used highly enriched uranium, or HEU, a type of nuclear substance often referred to by the general public as weapons-grade uranium. This kind of uranium forms the core of any nuclear weapons material, and the Nigerian material was more than 90 percent enriched, making it particularly attractive for anyone looking to use it.

Since NIRR-1 went online, however, improvements in technology meant that experiments involving highly enriched uranium could now be run with a lesser substance. Across the globe, the IAEA and its partners have worked to swap out weapons-grade material with lightly enriched uranium, or LEU, which is enriched at less than 20 percent, and hence unusable for weapons. In all, 33 countries have now become free of HEU, including 11 countries in Africa.

With just over 1 kilogram of HEU, the Nigerian material, if stolen, would not be nearly enough to create a full nuclear warhead. However, a terrorist group would be able to create a dirty bombwith the substance or add the material into a stockpile gathered elsewhere to get close to the amount needed for a large explosion.

In a statement released by the IAEA, Yusuf Aminu Ahmed, director of the Nigerian Centre for Energy Research and Training, was blunt about his concerns over keeping the weapons-grade material in his country. “We don’t want any material that is attractive to terrorists,” he said.
And the nature of these types of reactors, used primarily for research, means they are ideal targets for terrorist groups looking for nuclear material, said Jon Wolfsthal, a nuclear expert who served as senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the U.S. National Security Council from 2014 to 2017.

They’re small reactors, they’re not power reactors where the fuel is so radioactive it kills you,” he said. “This is very attractive to a proliferation point of view, and they are research reactors, so they are often at universities without high security.”

All of which gave the governments involved incentive to get the material out of Nigeria sooner rather than later, and which led to the group of experts sitting in Ghana, waiting for a call………..

Replacing HEU with LEU in research reactors naturally requires caution, as anything nuclear-related comes with risks. But the Nigerian mission was particularly difficult because of security concerns, Hanlon said. He noted that Boko Haram, while not in the Kaduna region, has been operating in Nigeria for quite some time.

“We had concerns about the security on the ground, in the region. Working very closely with the U.S. embassy, there were additional security requirements put upon us and limitations for us on having people on the ground at the facility itself,” Hanlon said.
……………While the technicians were able to leave the country once their daylong mission was complete, security on site remained thick for the next five weeks as administrators worked the logistics and clearances needed to fly nuclear material over other nations’ airspace. Asked about the security level during this down period, Dov Schwartz, an NNSA spokesman, said that “extensive planning went into ensuring the removed highly enriched uranium was safe and secure prior to transport.”

“All of our partners understood that operational security was paramount,” Schwartz said. “The world is a safer place today as a result of the determined work to remove this weapons useable Uranium from Nigeria.”

Finally, on Dec. 4, the HEU was escorted by the Nigerian military toward the An-124, loaded onto the aircraft and sent on its way to its final destination.  The material was heading for China.

China’s role

The removal operation cost roughly $5.5 million, with the United States contributing $4.3 million. The United Kingdom ($900,000) and Norway ($290,000) also chipped in. But while it didn’t contribute money, China’s role in the operation was outsized — and occurred as the war of words from the Trump administration toward Beijing was reaching a fever pitch, one that did not die down in the weeks to come.

As the October operation was just hours from starting, U.S. President Donald Trump took to the press to discuss nuclear material and China.

“Until people come to their senses, we will build [the nuclear arsenal] up,” Trump told reporters just hours before the Nigeria operation was to begin. “It’s a threat to whoever you want. And it includes China, and it includes Russia, and it includes anybody else that wants to play that game. You can’t do that. You can’t play that game on me.”

By the time the Antonov plane — carrying the HEU, along with American inspectors and security — arrived at Shijiazhuang airport in China on Dec. 6, the arrest of a Chinese technology executive in Canada had inflamed fears of a trade conflict between the two countries.

Once the material landed in China, local officials took possession of the uranium, marking the end of the Nigerian mission — but not necessarily the end of the material……..
That the United States and China were able to ignore politics to get the HEU removal done shouldn’t be a surprise, Wolfsthal said. Traditionally, countries that supply uranium to partners around the world take that material back if needed.

“Even though the national level conversation is really poor because of trade and other issues, the technical collaboration between laboratories, between nuclear engineers, that’s generally gone pretty well,” he said. He added that China has invested heavily in LEU over the last decade, and therefore also has an interest in encouraging others to switch to that technology.

Whether that cooperation continues if relations between the two nations continue to deteriorate will be a true test going forward……… https://www.defensenews.com/news/pentagon-congress/2019/01/14/how-the-us-and-china-collaborated-to-get-nuclear-material-out-of-nigeria-and-away-from-terrorist-groups/

January 15, 2019 Posted by | China, Nigeria, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Makoma Lekalakala: ‘There should be no nuclear in climate financing’

https://www.dw.com/en/there-should-be-no-nuclear-in-climate-financing/a-46740978-14 Dec 18, Prize-winning South African activist Makoma Lekalakala’s successful legal battle to stop a secret nuclear power deal in her homeland won her international acclaim. She tells DW about defending the environment in court.

Makoma Lekalakala: My major campaigning issue, it’s mitigation against climate change and with a specific focus on electricity generation in the country [South Africa] — it’s almost 90 percent from coal. And we know that coal is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, so our campaign has been for a just transition towards a low carbon development.

We’re demanding a greater investment in renewable energy technologies, particularly that we can have a decentralized electricity system where solar and wind would play a major role.

The technology, we need a lot of investment in that so that we can be able to eradicate energy poverty. Local people can have their own socially-owned and community-owned renewable energy projects and co-operatives so that they can have access to electricity.

For us to be able to do that, a just transition for us would mean phasing out coal electricity generation and having no nuclear at all as part of the energy mix, and having wind and solar being increased as part of our energy mix.

Our main mission is for me to ensure that, or to advocate that, there should be no nuclear in climate financing.

Why are you against nuclear power?

Earth Life is an anti-nuclear organization, because we believe that nuclear, it’s not safe. It’s an old technology that comes from the war era and it’s not even safe for us to be able to use for various reasons. It’s not economic, it’s quite expensive, it’s not safe, it’s quite dangerous.

We can remember all the accidents that have taken place, from Fukushima, from Three Mile Island, and nuclear also leaves a legacy of radioactiveness for hundreds and hundreds of years to come.

South Africa has got a principal policy on having an energy mix as part of the energy supply of the country. However, that legislation and regulations imply that if we have an energy mix we should also decide what kind of energy we would want to be part of the mix.

What we have in South Africa, which is written in the legislation, is that the energy choice should be least cost. That is having less externalized costs to the environment, to the atmosphere.

This is not the case around nuclear. And what we’ve seen is that the government also had flouted regulations and legislation by forcing some Africans to accept nuclear power.

Can you tell us more about your legal battle against the controversial secret nuclear power deal between South Africa and Russia? 

In 2015 October, Earth Life Africa filed papers against the state president, against the Department of Energy, against the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, because we felt that these three institutions were supposed to be able to forward the information that was public information. It was suspected that the political elites in the country were actually the drivers of the nuclear deal.

We went to the court based on the legislative and regulatory processes in the country that were flouted, not followed, because all the other agreements were done in secret. That’s how the nuclear industry operates.

So we were vindicated that all the processes in the constitution, our regulations, were not followed at all in favor of the Russians to get to build or to construct the nuclear reactors.

One of the main issues why we opposed, or why we are opposing nuclear energy, is that we don’t want to turn our country, our continent and the world as a radioactive zone where life cannot exist.

What are the main environmental issues in South Africa?

The main environmental issue in South Africa, it’s pollution. As we speak now, South Africans, particularly in hotspot pollution areas, are unable to breathe. In Mpumalanga, where there’s almost about 11 coal-fired power stations and coal mines, this is an area that is very highly polluted and it’s one of the most polluted areas in the world.

Makoma Lekalakala is director of Earthlife Africa’s Johannesburg branch, an environmental non-profit organization. Together with Liziwe McDaid, she won the Goldman Environmental Prize for 2018 for stopping a controversial nuclear power deal between South Africa and Russia.

This interview was conducted by Louise Osborne and edited by Melanie Hall.

December 15, 2018 Posted by | climate change, South Africa | Leave a comment

Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa) embroiled in dodgy deals, conflicts of interest

Radio-active legacy of Zuptoid nuclear interference – Yelland, BIZ News, By Chris Yelland, 3 Dec 18, Independent reports are being received by EE Publishers that energy minister Jeff Radebe has requested the Necsa board to provide reasons why it should not be removed, and that issues relating the Necsa chairman are central to this matter.

It appears that the issues raised by the minister with the board concern matters of governance, engagements with Russian nuclear interests and possible unauthorised research reactor deals with Russia’s Rusatom, overseas trips by the Necsa chairman, unauthorised media releases, articles and/or communications, and apparent conflicts of interest.

Formal questions have been put to Minister Radebe, to Necsa chairman Dr Kelvin Kemm and to Necsa CEO Phumzile Tshelane, including a request for confirmation as to whether the reports being received are correct or not……

Necsa is the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa, a state-owned enterprise undertaking R&D and commercial activities in the field of nuclear energy and radiation sciences, and the production of medical nuclear radioisotopes and associated services. Necsa is also responsible for processing source material, including uranium enrichment, and co-operating with other institutions, locally and abroad, on nuclear and related matters.

Apart from its main activities at Pelindaba, near Pretoria in South Africa, which include operation and utilisation of the SAFARI-1 research reactor, Necsa also manages and operates the Vaalputs National Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility in the Northern Cape on behalf of the National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute (NRWDI).

Over the last few years, Necsa has been embroiled in a number of debilitating operational, financial and governance challenges.

As a result of safety procedure lapses, Necsa’s NTP Radioisotopes plant, which produced a significant share of the world’s commercial medical nuclear radioisotope, Molybdenum-99, was shut down by South Africa’s National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) in November 2017, which lasted almost a full year. ………

It was announced in mid-November that the NTP Radioisotopes plant was back in operation after conditional approval to restart was given by South Africa’s National Nuclear Regulator (NNR).

NTP Radioisotopes normally has a revenue of about R1.3bn a year, providing a contribution of more than 50% to the revenue of the Necsa group. The closure of the NTP production plant for a year has therefore obviously had a devastating financial impact.

There are also wider concerns regarding the financial health of Necsa. The Auditor General (AG) has raised ongoing concerns about inadequate financial provisions by Necsa for decommissioning and dismantling (D & D) costs at the end-of-life of Necsa’s SAFARI-1 research reactor.

As a result, Necsa’s annual financial statements for the year ending 31 March 2018, which were due to be published by end September 2018, have still not been tabled.

Note: This article will be updated as further information comes to hand, and/or a response from energy minister Jeff Radebe is received. https://www.biznews.com/thought-leaders/2018/12/03/necsa-board-chairman-ceo-ropes-yelland

December 4, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | 1 Comment

South Africa’s Portfolio Committee on Energy (PCE) praises Nuclear power, glosses over cost, waste, problems

IAfrica 29th Nov 2018 , Yesterday, the Portfolio Committee on Energy (PCE) delivered its report on
the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), to Parliament.

According to the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), Parliament has once again failed to act in the people’s best interest, stating that it found “no persuasive arguments against nuclear”. In the report – which was based on the public hearings on the IRP, held in October – the PCE was in no doubt that “nuclear technology is the cleanest, safest and cheapest technology.”

However, SAFCEI’s Energy Justice Coordinator, Vainola Makan says that during the public hearings, various issues with nuclear, were mentioned. Says Makan, “Over and above the high costs of building a nuclear power plant – which are often marred by delays and related cost overruns – there are further costs associated with maintaining and securing the plant, as well as dealing with waste.”

Makan, who recently held SAFCEI’s People’s Power Learning Fest says, “We are learning that none of the current nuclear waste disposal solutions are real solutions, because the radioactive waste will always be there, and it will always be a risk to all things living in the areas where they are buried. At Koeberg, for example, the concentration of high-level radioactive wastecontinues to increase, and there is still no clear plan for dealing with it.”
https://www.iafrica.com/public-outcry-at-disappointing-energy-planning-report-on-nuclear-to-parliament/

December 3, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Doubts on future of South Africa’s nuclear research reactors, with glut of medical isotopes, and with particle accelerator production

SA nuclear radio-isotope production facility back in business, but… Money Web, 22 Nov 18

Earlier shutdown resulted in shortages to SA’s government hospitals, global market.

The facility is the main supplier of medical nuclear radio-isotopes such as Molybdenum-99 in Africa, and one of only four such facilities globally. As a result of safety procedure lapses, the plant was shut down in November 2017, which lasted almost a full year. Several attempts had been made in the interim to restart the plant, but without success.

The process of rectifying shortcomings and bringing the operating and safety procedures in line with the requirements of the NNR has been marred by what appears to be conflict between NTP and its parent company, the Necsa……..

The initial shutdown occurred in November 2017 as a result of procedural errors. It appears that calibration of hydrogen sensors, an important component in the safety chain, had not been carried out correctly, and that records were not being kept properly. This was considered to be a critical safety issue, and the plant was shut down by the NNR.

An investigation was held which resulted in the suspension of a number of NTP staff. Following a number of further senior executive and staff replacements, suspensions and reinstatements, Necsa placed its own employees in charge of the plant, who then attempted to rectify the problems and restart the production facility.
………Several incidents occurred which caused restarts to be halted or abandoned. One example that has been cited is the institution of various changes to parameters which were unrelated to the cause of problems. The reasons for Necsa’s actions in this regard are unclear……

following an announcement during the recent Brics Summit in Sandton of a cooperation agreement in the field of nuclear medicine between NTP and Rusatom, the nuclear medical subsidiary of Russian state-owned nuclear company Rosatom, there are some questions as to whether a second or replacement nuclear research reactor will be built.
NTP said that the current global production over-capacity of medical radio-isotopes does not justify a second nuclear research reactor, since the Safari-1 reactor at Pelindaba still has between 15 and 20 years of life, and this could be extended still further. The Safari-1 nuclear reactor produces medical nuclear radio-isotopes by bombarding target plates of low-enriched uranium with neutrons.

Furthermore, medical nuclear radio-isotopes can also be produced by particle accelerators such as cyclotrons, which could make the consDtruction of second or replacement nuclear research reactor unnecessary, the company said.

There are also concerns regarding the financial health of Necsa. The Auditor-General has raised ongoing concerns about inadequate financial provisions by Necsa for decommissioning and dismantling costs for the Safari-1 reactor end-of-life.

As a result, Necsa’s annual financial statements for the year ending March 31, which were due to be published by end September 2018, have still not been tabled. https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/sa-nuclear-radio-isotope-production-facility-back-in-business-but/

November 24, 2018 Posted by | health, South Africa | 3 Comments

South Africa’s Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s evidence at the State Capture Commission

I WARNED ZUMA OF NUCLEAR PROCUREMENT IMPLICATIONS, SAYS GORDHAN https://ewn.co.za/2018/11/19/i-warned-zuma-of-nuclear-procurement-implications-says-gordhan

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says he advised former President Jacob Zuma that nuclear procurement would be a complex issue. Clement Manyathela 20 Nov 18 JOHANNESBURG – Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has told the state capture commission that former President Jacob Zuma was determined to go ahead with the nuclear build programme despite the reality that the country could not afford it. Gordhan appeared before the inquiry on Monday in Parktown.

His interactions with the Gupta family are among other issues he is expected to deal with.

The minister says he advised Zuma that nuclear procurement would be a complex issue.

“I indicated to the former president that it would be lawful to follow procurement processes for such an expensive process to avoid being marred in scandals such as the arms deal.”

He says he wanted Zuma to be aware of the cost implications.

“I wanted to impress upon the former president that that undertaking, the nuclear procurement, required careful consideration of its costs, choice of supplier and due process.”

Last month, former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene told the commission Zuma was so determined to proceed with the nuclear build programme that he showed disregard and no appreciation for the financial ramifications for the country.

Gordhan will continue his testimony on Tuesday.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa: leaked report shows Zuma government’s secret plans for nuclear power

GORDHAN’S LEAKED REPORT DETAILS BEHIND-THE-SCENES PLAN TO PROCURE NUCLEAR ENERGY https://ewn.co.za/2018/11/08/gordhan-s-leaked-report-details-behind-the-scenes-plot-to-procure-nuclear-energy– Lindsay  Dentlinger  9 Nov 18  Former President Jacob Zuma was insistent the country needed to enter into a nuclear deal.   CAPE TOWN – Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has detailed the behind-the-scenes machinations for government to procure more nuclear energy.

It’s contained in a statement that Gordhan is expected to deliver to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture next week.

It was leaked to the media overnight.

In it, Gordhan says former President Jacob Zuma was insistent the country needed to enter into a nuclear deal.

As the Finance Minister at the time, Gordhan says he warned Zuma that the process had to be above board to avoid another arms-deal scandal.

Gordhan says it was at a meeting at the presidential residence with Zuma and one of his advisors Senti Thobejane in 2013, that the former president made it clear he wanted South Africa to procure nuclear power.

Gordhan says he was not told ahead of the meeting what would be discussed, but he impressed on Zuma that costs, choice of supplier, due process and likely challenges should all be considered.

He says Treasury raised concerns with a draft agreement with Russia because of the firm fiscal commitments it aimed to enforce.

During his tenure as Finance Minister, Gordhan says Treasury officials insisted that proper evaluations of the true cost of nuclear power, and financial risks to the country be carried out.

He says once he was moved to the portfolio of Cooperative Governance, he was no longer privy to discussions around the nuclear deal.

Gordhan says he was also not present at the Cabinet meeting in December 2015 when the deal was approved.

But he points out that it was on the same day that Zuma announced Gordhan’s successor as Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, would be replaced by Des van Rooyen. A move that sent markets and the local currency into a tailspin and culminated in Gordhan’s reappointment to the post just three days later.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

November 10, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment