nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

South Africa’s President Zuma now has a new (Nuclear) Energy Minister: David Mahlobo praises nuclear energy

New Energy Minister Mahlobo’s first words on his nuclear vision for SA, Fin 24, Oct 19 2017 Matthew le Cordeur , Cape Town – Incoming Energy Minister David Mahlobo on Thursday highlighted his vision for South Africa’s nuclear energy future, following the approval for Eskom to develop 4GW of new power stations near Koeberg last week.

Mahlobo is the third energy minister this year. Tina Joemat-Pettersson was axed in March after the nuclear programme was halted following a court ruling. Her successor, Mmamoloko Kubayi, was this week redeployed to the communications ministry, with speculation that President Jacob Zuma was not happy with her progress in restarting the nuclear procurement programme.

Critics and opposition parties have warned that Mahlobo’s appointment could be an attempt by Zuma to push through the nuclear deal, as the president’s leadership position hangs in the balance ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December.

4GW of new nuclear next to Koeberg

His appointment comes as the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) last week authorised its Final Environmental Impact Report for the power station at Duynefontein, giving Eskom permission to develop a new nuclear plant next to the existing Koeberg power station.

Koeberg, based outside Cape Town, is Africa’s only nuclear power station and contributes 6%, or 1.8GW, to South Africa’s power grid.

Citing the outdated 2010 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which states that South Africa requires 9.6GW of nuclear energy before 2030, Mahlobo said the latest development forms part of a “policy decision to pursue nuclear energy as a baseload energy form to mitigate our carbon footprint”………..

Zuma’s nuclear minister?

Allegations that Mahlobo’s appointment is a desperate bid by Zuma to get the nuclear new build programme off the ground hinge on revelation that he accompanied Zuma (with Deputy International Relations Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo) on a state visit to Russia in 2014, where he met with Putin at his residence in Novo-Ogariovo. No aides, advisers or wives went along, creating a veil of secrecy.

It has been widely speculated that Zuma and Putin struck a deal on nuclear cooperation at this meeting, but no evidence has ever emerged to confirm this. Rosatom, Zuma and the Department of Energy have consistently denied such a deal.

Democratic Alliance energy spokesperson Gordon Mackay said South Africans should be deeply concerned. “This is the state securitisation of the energy department. It started under Kubayi and will be completed under Mahlobo.” http://www.fin24.com/Economy/new-energy-minister-mahlobos-first-words-on-his-nuclear-vision-for-sa-20171019

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October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa: KICKBACKS, PROCUREMENT IRREGULARITIES AT ESKOM 

PARLY COMMITTEE HEARS OF KICKBACKS, PROCUREMENT IRREGULARITIES AT ESKOM http://ewn.co.za/2017/10/19/parly-committee-hears-of-kickbacks-procurement-irregularities-at-eskom Former Eskom employee Ted Blom sketched broad details about corruption at the parastatal, claiming there are up to a thousand cases, many of them unreported. Rahima Essop , 19 Oct 17  CAPE TOWN – Parliament’s probe into state capture at Eskom has been told about a culture of kickbacks and large-scale procurement irregularities at the parastatal.

Former Eskom employee and self-proclaimed corruption whistleblower Ted Blom briefed the Public Enterprises committee charged with the probe on Wednesday.

Blom and former Eskom CEO Brian Dames were the latest witnesses to appear before the committee.

Blom, who now heads Outa’s energy division, sketched broad details about corruption at Eskom, claiming that there are up to a thousand cases, many of them unreported.

He took the committee back in time and in an astonishing revelation he claimed to have met with Jacob Zuma at his Forest Town home in 2009 to alert him to the irregularities.

Zuma was president of the African National Congress but not yet the country at the time.

Zuma allegedly told him to meet a team of “fixers”, but Blom told Members of Parliament that the group had a different agenda.

“They introduced themselves and the first question was: Given my vast experience of Eskom, over more than 20-odd years, how could I help them to access some of the gravy train?”

Blom left the meeting furious that he was supposedly being roped into a plan to loot the state-owned company. Parliamentarians asked Blom for the names of the so-called “fixers,” which he promised to provide them with at a later stage.

Earlier, Dames told the committee that Minister Malusi Gigaba’s adviser Siyabonga Mahlangu asked him to meet with “some people,”one of whom he assumed was a Gupta brother.

But Dames claims he can’t recall who it was.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Fatal flaws in Eskom’s plan for new nuclear power at Koeberg, South Africa

Stand up to nuclear policy https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/letters/2017-10-17-letter-stand-up-to-nuclear-policy/  17 OCTOBER 2017 What was once suspected has finally become reality. Instead of the preferred site of Thyspunt, the Department of Environmental Affairs has approved an environmental authorisation for up to 4,000MW of nuclear power at the current Koeberg site just outside Cape Town.

The department cites increasing need for base-load power and that nuclear energy is in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), as reasons for approving the environmental impact assessment. Yet Eskom’s tariff application shows that electricity demand is declining and the IRP has been criticised, with reputable institutes such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) showing that nuclear energy is not needed.

Apart from a flimsy economic justification (no substantive assessment of “need and desirability”, as required by environmental law), other fatal flaws in Eskom’s final environmental impact report include:

• An unscientific failure to disclose the actual reactor technology to be assessed;

• An inadequate assessment of the emergency planning for the Koeberg site;

• An unacceptable containment of high-level (used fuel) waste on the Koeberg site;

• A complete failure to assess the plans for decommissioning the reactor; and

• An absence of a final plan for long-term nuclear waste management.

We therefore call on all South Africans to unite behind the Coalition Against Nuclear Energy (www.cane.org.za) and the Koeberg Alert Alliance in defence of an administratively unjust and unacceptable version of the environmental authorisation.

We further call on our fellow citizens to campaign to defeat once and for all the national pro-nuclear energy policy, as we did with the ill-conceived HIV/AIDS policy.

Mike KanteyNational chairman, Coalition Against NuclearEnergy

October 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Joy and relief in Thyspunt, South Africa, as Thyspunt vetoed for new nuclear reactor

Jubilation as nuclear vetoed for Thyspunt, Herald Live,  

 Surprise as government overrules Eskom, opts for Western Cape site The government’s surprise effective veto of Eskom’s push to build a nuclear reactor at Thyspunt near Cape St Francis has been greeted with jubilation by groups opposed to the move. The Department of Environmental Affairs has instead authorised the construction of Eskom’s proposed nuclear project at Duynefontein in the Western Cape.

NoPENuke said the department’s authorisation of Duynefontein, effectively vetoing the utility’s preferred site at Thyspunt, was “a real victory for the little guy”.

The Thyspunt Alliance said it was “a triumph for due process” and the Gamtkwa Khoisan Council said the ruling opened the way for establishment of a coastal cradle of mankind, a World Heritage site celebrating Thyspunt’s unique cultural and environmental heritage.

In keeping with South Africa’s nuclear process so far, the Environmental Affairs ruling arrived amid conflicting signals.

Less than a week ago, an upbeat nuclear summit at Jeffreys Bay – attended by Deputy Energy Minister Thembisile Majola and Eskom acting general manager Loyiso Tyabashe – declared the readiness of Eastern Cape youth to seize envisaged job opportunities flowing from development at Thyspunt.

More confusing still, on Sunday, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said South Africa had no money for nuclear.

Speaking in Washington in the US after meetings with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, Gigaba said the South African economy “at present is not in a position where it can carry the burden of nuclear technology”.

Eskom’s nuclear aspirations were launched a decade ago, moving through multiple environmental impact assessments (EIAs) which were submitted and resubmitted after successful challenges from the anti-Thyspunt groupings supported by pro bono studies undertaken by scientists living in St Francis.

Besides the cultural heritage issue, concerns have included Thyspunt’s fragile dune wetlands and the sensitivity of the area to flooding, the existing tourism industry, the threat to the flagship chokka industry via the ejection of sand spoil into squid breeding areas during plant construction and the instability of the site, making it vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis……http://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/2017/10/17/jubilation-nuclear-vetoed-thyspunt/

October 18, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa: President Jacob Zuma changes Cabinet, in order to promote nuclear power deal

Cabinet reshuffle about Zuma chasing nuclear deal: Malema, Times Live 17 October 2017  BY PENWELL DLAMINI The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters‚ Julius Malema‚ says the cabinet reshuffle announced by President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday is a tactical move to see the nuclear deal concluded.

“He is chasing the nuclear deal in the energy [department]….She [then minister of energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson] wanted minister Nene to sign some documents which were provided to her by the president. Nene said ‘I cannot sign the documents which have not been taken through the department. If you give me time to go through them‚ we can then sign.‘

“It took forever and [former finance minister Nhlanhla] Nene got removed because they thought he was reluctant on the thing. Peterson got removed because they thought she was not handling the nuclear deal properly‚” Malema charged at a media briefing on Tuesday.

“A confidante has been sent there [Department of Energy] to go and process the nuclear deal. [New minister of energy‚ David] Mahlobo will run the two departments. Both the intelligence and energy because [newly-appointed state security minister Bongani] Bongo is a nobody. He is just a young man who knows nothing. Bongo is put there because he admires Mahlobo. Bongo cannot undermine Mahlobo. He will listen to Mahlobo on what needs to happen.

“You must not be fooled. They are chasing the energy deal‚” Malema told reporters.

He was reacting to Zuma’s decision to remove Mmamoloko Kubayi as the minister of energy‚ replacing her with Mahlobo who was the minister of intelligence. The move‚ Malema said‚ was to have control on the energy department so that no one could block Zuma’s nuclear deal.

In April‚ the Western Cape High Court ruled that government’s decision to call for proposals for the procurement of 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear energy was unlawful and unconstitutional.

Earthlife Africa‚ which brought the case‚ said the court vindicated its view which was that the process government had followed was unlawful because it failed to consult the public about its decision. The judgment also made all deals that government had pursued with Russia and the US invalid…….. https://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2017-10-17-cabinet-reshuffle-about-zuma-chasing-nuclear-deal-malema/

October 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s new Energy Minister, David Mahlobo, could be the nuclear industry’s new best friend

David Mahlobo, the nuclear deal’s new best friend?  http://www.fin24.com/Economy/david-mahlobo-the-nuclear-deals-new-best-friend-20171017 Oct 17 2017 Johannesburg – New Energy Minister David Mahlobo could make it much easier to realise South Africa’s nuclear ambitions, several commentators warned on Tuesday.

They voiced the opinion that Mahlobo’s abilities as a spy will be a handy tool to cast a veil of secrecy around critical deals that need to be hidden.

Concerns were raised that President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle, moving Mmamoloko Kubayi from the energy portfolio to communications and replacing her with the former state security minister, was a definite shift towards nuclear.

“This is all about the nuclear deal. Mahlobo has accompanied the president on visits to Russia, presumably to lay the ground for the Rosatom nuclear deal,” said Lawson Naidoo of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution.

Mahlobo is seen as a close confidant of Zuma, with some labelling him as the president’s loyal “Prime Minister”.

Also significant is that Zuma was accompanied only by Mahlobo and Deputy International Relations Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo on his state visit to Russia in 2014, where he met with Putin at his residence in Novo-Ogariovo. No aides, advisers or wives went along, creating a veil of secrecy.

It has been widely speculated that Zuma and Putin struck a deal on nuclear cooperation at this meeting, but no evidence has ever emerged to confirm this.

The meeting only came to light later that week in 2014.

Democratic Alliance energy spokesperson Gordon Mackay said South Africans should be deeply concerned. “This is the state securitisation of the energy department. It started under Kubayi and will be completed under Mahlobo.”

He said Zuma was effectively taking control of the department, which has always been viewed as a department of former president Thabo Mbeki.

“It is the clearest indication that the state is dead set on pursuing nuclear.”

Mackay said Mahlobo is an enforcer, and a master at creating a murky atmosphere around deals that need to be pushed through and hidden.

The new energy minister is seen as close to Zuma and someone who can drive the nuclear deal, said Daniel Silke, director at the Political Futures Consultancy.

Liz McDaid, spokesperson for the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute, said since the institute’s court victory earlier this year in the high court, which ordered the government to restart the nuclear process, nothing has apparently happened on the surface to show progress with the deal.

“We suspected something was happening behind closed doors,” she said. “Last Friday’s nuclear site authorisation and now today’s Cabinet reshuffle has seen the Intelligence Minister become the Energy Minister. This is a desperate attempt to force through the nuclear deal.”

The Sunday Times last month added further fuel to the fire on Mahlobo’s Russian links, when the paper reported that Mahlobo had made the introductions between Russian gas company Rosgeo and controversial businessmen Kenny Kunene and Gayton McKenzie. Rosgeo signed a R5.3bn deal with PetroSA for gas exploration off the southern coast to feed the gas to liquids refinery at Mossel Bay at the recent Brics summit in Xiamen, China.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Eskom gets permission to develop a new nuclear plant

Eskom gets nod to develop new nuclear power station, Fin24, Oct 13 2017  Lameez Omarjee Johannesburg – Eskom has permission to develop a new nuclear plant next to the existing Koeberg power station in the Western Cape.

A statement issued by the power utility on Friday revealed that the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) authorised its Final Environmental Impact Report for the power station at Duynefontein.

Eskom’s chief nuclear officer Dave Nicholls said this is considered an “important milestone” in developing the country’s nuclear programme.

Five sites were investigated which include Brazil and Schulpfontein in the Northern Cape, Bantamsklip  and Duynefontein in the Western Cape, and Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape.

Following the scoping phase, Brazil and Schulpfontein have been excluded for further environmental studies while the other sites are still usable in the future as no “fatal flaws” have been identified, Eskom said……….

However, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) which has been challenging Eskom’s nuclear build programme, claims to have “plenty of ammo” left to dispute any claims of progress being made by the power utility.

Speaking to Fin24 on Friday, Ted Blom, director of the energy portfolio, said that such a decision by the DEA is premature. “It is absolutely premature, with the whole nuclear IRP justification process still a work in progress,” he said. “Any claims of progress are totally premature.”

Blom added that OUTA is building up a case against the Department of Energy regarding its Integrated Resource Plan and its National Energy Efficiency Strategy which are “out of tune”, and that it would take further action if nuclear were “steamrolled”. http://www.fin24.com/Economy/Eskom/eskom-gets-nod-to-develop-new-nuclear-power-station-20171013

October 14, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa – lovely! they have a nuclear power utility educating kids about nuclear power!!!

SA utility educates youth on nuclear ESI Africa, 6 Oct 17 

 Eskom has recently launched its first school’s nuclear debate programme in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province.

The School Nuclear Debate initiative is part of Eskom’s five-year Schools Adoption & Skills Development programme……….“Eskom aims to create awareness about the most important aspects of nuclear power, to bring facts to the fore and to debate, correct myths, fears and misconceptions that may exist regarding nuclear power.”

October 7, 2017 Posted by | Education, South Africa | Leave a comment

African countries – easy targets for the global nuclear merchants – warning to South Africa

The truth about nuclear power in SA https://www.iol.co.za/sunday-tribune/news/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-in-sa-11245644 17 SEPTEMBER 2017, NABEELAH SHAIKH, nabeelah.shaikh@inl.co.za, DURBAN: Two international anti-nuclear activists visited Durban on Saturday to educate the community on the harmful effects of nuclear energy. They highlighted why South Africans must continue to oppose its proliferation in our country.

Russian activist Vladimir Slivyak and American activist Chris Williams claim African countries are “easy targets” for nuclear reactor companies who have wanted to sell the idea of nuclear energy, as more Western countries oppose it.

Slivyak, a member of the Russian environmental organisation Ecodefense, has been an environmental and energy activist since 1989. Williams, a long time sustainable energy policy activist, is currently the Vermont USA organiser for the Citizens Awareness Network.

These activists have already been to Joburg and Port Elizabeth where they visited rural communities near a proposed nuclear site to educate them about what nuclear energy was and what it would mean for them if it were introduced.

In Durban yesterday, Slivyak and Williams spoke at an event at St Paul’s Church. Recently Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute challenged the government’s nuclear deals with Russia, the US and South Korea.

In April, judgment was delivered in the Cape Town High Court and these deals were set aside and declared unlawful and unconstitutional. In a press briefing yesterday morning Slivyak and Williams emphasised the need for South Africa to distance itself from nuclear energy and said renewable energy was the way of the future.

“South Africa has enough sun as well as wind. There are other alternatives like solar and wind energy which is now becoming the way of the future. When these international nuclear companies try to sell you the idea of nuclear energy, they don’t tell you that in the long run, it’s actually going to cost you a whole lot more than you expect,” said Williams.

He said the financial markets internationally were also moving away from nuclear energy to renewable energy because it was cost effective and the safer alternative.

In Germany, they’ve already taken a decision to close 23 nuclear reactor plants in the next five to six years. They’ve made a commitment to source all their power through sustainable energy and other countries should follow in this path. We are here to spread the word in terms of what’s happening on the international front and countries can make informed decisions based on this,” said Slivyak.

Earthlife Africa Durban, who hosted the anti-nuclear activists, said it was concerned that the South African government still planned to pursue the nuclear deal.

“It is at the heart of the state capture and the cabinet reshuffle. If it goes ahead the R1 trillion deal will bankrupt the country. It is a risky and dangerous source of power as witnessed by the many nuclear disasters, most notably Fukushima in Japan”.

“Earthlife Africa Durban and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance supports a renewable energy future and an end to coal and nuclear power stations. We call on the people of South Africa to oppose the government’s shady nuclear deals and to support a safe, clean and green future with renewable energy,” said Earthlife Durban spokeswoman, Alice Thompson.

 

September 18, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Africa | Leave a comment

Global nuclear marketers salivating at prospect of selling nukes to South Africa

SA could start nuclear procurement process again as soon as next month
The chairperson of the Necsa, speaking at the World Nuclear Association conference in London, says the politicians just have ‘to press the re-start button
’ Business Live 15 SEPTEMBER 2017  ALEXANDER WINNING LONDON —SA could re-start a procurement process for its nuclear expansion project as soon as next month, but the government still has to determine the exact timing, the chairperson of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) said on Friday.

SA is planning to build several new nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 9,600MW, which could be one of the world’s biggest nuclear deals in decades. The plans aim to help resolve the country’s chronic power shortages.

The plans were disrupted this year when SA’s High Court ruled that a nuclear co-operation pact with Russia was unlawful, after which the government started to draw up new pacts with countries with nuclear expertise. South African officials have made progress on the nuclear project since the court ruling, selecting potential sites for the new power stations, Necsa chairperson, Kelvin Kemm told Reuters.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Nuclear Association conference in London, he said Eskom and Necsa were ready to proceed. “All that needs to happen is for the politicians to press the re-start button.”…….

Nuclear reactor makers, including Russia’s Rosatom, South Korea’s Kepco, France’s EDF and Areva, Toshiba-owned Westinghouse and China’s CGN are eyeing the South African project, which could be worth tens of billions of dollars.

A senior executive from Russian state firm Rosatom told Reuters on Thursday his firm was keen to win the contract and was ready to use a business model suitable to SA…….

Zuma’s opponents have said the project could be used as a conduit for corruption, a charge the president and officials deny. Some investors say the project is too big and expensive for a developing economy, such as SA.

Kemm said all top nuclear reactor makers were still in the running for the project and that he hoped a firm contract with a foreign partner would be signed next year. SA aimed to achieve 50% local input to the project to lift the economy, he said, adding that ordering several plants at once should help bring down costs. https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2017-09-15-sa-could-start-nuclear-procurement-process-again-as-soon-as-next-month/

September 16, 2017 Posted by | marketing, South Africa | Leave a comment

Corruption in South Africa: Eskom and the nuclear industry: time to promote renewables

Time for the energy sector to self-correct. EE, August 15th, 2017, by Prof. Hartmut Winkler, University of Johannesburg, May and June 2017 will go down as two of the most dreadful months in the history of the South African power utility Eskom. Its credibility in the eyes of the public has reached rock bottom after a series of well-publicised scandals.

September 1, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Listen to radio, on South Africa’s dodgy nuclear deals

[LISTEN] ‘NUCLEAR DOCS FUEL PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF DODGY DEALS’ http://ewn.co.za/2017/08/24/listen-nuclear-docs-fuel-public-perception-of-dodgy-deals    Radio 702 | Energy expert Chris Yelland says that the latest documents linked to the nuclear industry are deepening public suspicion about dubious dealings in the procurement process.

JOHANNESBURG – Energy expert Chris Yelland says the latest documents linked to the nuclear industry are deepening public suspicion about dubious dealings in the procurement process.

The Auditor-General (AG) apparently found key nuclear-related contracts entered into by the Department of Energy are irregular and unauthorised, according to the Democratic Alliance.

Radio 702’s Bongani Bingwa speaks to Yelland about an alleged report yet to be finalised by the AG, this is according to the DA energy spokesperson Gordan McKay.

For more information listen to the audio  

August 25, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

In South Africa, nuclear and coal lobbies wage a (losing) war against renewables

Nuclear and Coal Lobbies Threaten to Scupper Renewables in South Africa, http://energypost.eu/nuclear-and-coal-lobbies-threaten-to-scupper-renewables-in-south-africa/ August 17, 2017 by Hartmut Winkler, South African power utility Eskom recently repeated that it will not conclude supply contracts with the developers of new renewable energy power stations. These developers were selected under a programme to facilitate private sector involvement in the building of medium-sized renewable energy power stations.

The programme has won plaudits for its success in facilitating the establishment of multiple solar and wind farms in record time. But Eskom is once again stalling.

The power utility’s stand threatens the viability of the entire renewable energy sector in the country. It’s hostility also defies logic given that the whole world is embracing renewable energy as key to a clean energy future and combating climate change.

So what lies behind the opposition?

The answer lies in the fact that two powerful lobbies are at work in South Africa. One is pro-coal, the other pro-nuclear. This has made the success of the renewable energy projects a target for attacks from interested parties in both. Disrupting the renewable energy sector would ensure that the coal sector remains dominant. And that, over time, it is gradually displaced by nuclear.

Eskom has pointed to the oversupply of electricity as the reason for its objection. But elsewhere it has trumpeted the need for more nuclear power. It can’t have it both ways

The lobby groups attached to coal and nuclear appear to have had powerful allies on the state utility’s board. There is mounting evidence that they have been furthering the interests of a group linked to the Gupta family. It in turn has been accused of capturing state entities to further its own ends, as well as those of President Jacob Zuma, his family and allies.

It has also been widely argued that the massively expensive proposed nuclear build is being driven by the same interest groups.

The battle over renewables is therefore closely linked to a wider political confrontation over control of key aspects of the South African economy.

Eskom’s flawed argument

The renewables dispute centres on the state utility’s refusal to endorse 1121 MW of new renewable energy. This translates to about 1% of Eskom’s current generated electricity, given that renewable energy supply is intermittent. This additional renewable energy would make up 5% of the total renewable energy generating capacity projected by 2030.

Eskom accepts the need to expand its generating potential in the long term. The additional contribution from renewables is well within its broader expansion targets. And tariffs on the energy from renewable sources would be almost half of the estimated cost of new coal and new nuclear power.

Until two years ago Eskom was seen as a neutral player committed to effectively provide electric power in the best interests of the country. But that all changed in 2015 after Brian Molefe was appointed CEO

The Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has been disingenuous in citing cost as a reason to stop the last phase of renewables. The higher costs she recently quoted were presumably those associated with the first round of renewable energy projects. These contracts were concluded in 2012 and prices for renewables have come down considerably since.

For its part Eskom has pointed to the oversupply of electricity as the reason for its objection. But elsewhere it has trumpeted the need for more nuclear power. It can’t have it both ways.

Powerful forces at play

Until two years ago Eskom was seen as a neutral player committed to effectively provide electric power in the best interests of the country. It threw its weight behind previous power procurement plans.

But that all changed in 2015 after Brian Molefe was appointed CEO.

Molefe and his successor Matshela Koko are both linked to the controversial Gupta family. Their names featured in the Public Protector’s State of Capture report as well as in a bulk leak of emails which implicated the Guptas and other leading figures in the state capture network.

Molefe and Koko played a pivotal role in helping the Guptas purchase a coal mine – the Optimum mine – and to secure a lucrative coal supply contract with Eskom. Both are also strongly pro-nuclear. They have also gone on record to argue that renewable energy is too expensive.

Eskom has furthermore listed renewables as the reason for planning to shut down four coal power plants. In reality, these old plants had already been destined for closure in anticipation of the imminent additional power supply expected from two new coal plants – Medupi and Kusile.

Ultimately South Africa won’t be able to buck international trends. That means that, in the longer term, the future of renewables in South Africa remains bright

It’s suspicious that one of the power stations facing closure, Hendrina, is supplied by coal from the Optimum mine. The effect of stalling renewable power expansion could force the extension of Hendrina’s life span.

Brown is in the process of restructuring the Eskom board after Molefe departed, Koko was suspended and the chairperson of the board resigned. Although there are signs that the minister is aware that she has been misled by the Eskom board on other matters, she doesn’t seem to believe this is true when it comes to renewables, repeating recently the view that it’s too expensive.

Brown’s counterpart in the energy portfolio, Nkhensani Kubayi, has displayed little sympathy for the renewable energy sector, also making far-fetched and easily disprovable claims that the initial solar and wind power stations have resulted in zero jobs. Renewable energy is in fact estimated to eventually generate over 100 000 jobs in South Africa.

Kubayi has also shown that she’s highly receptive to the nuclear lobby. Visiting a nuclear industry fair in Russia in the middle of June she expressed concern that the judicial disqualification of the existing nuclear cooperation agreement damaged relations with that country.

It has been convincingly argued that South Africa can’t afford the nuclear option in the current economic environment.

The immediate future

The global ascendancy of renewables and their particular pertinence in South African climatic conditions may even make coal and nuclear energy technologies obsolete in the distant future. Ultimately South Africa won’t be able to buck international trends. That means that, in the longer term, the future of renewables in South Africa remains bright.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa: R80m in irregularities in nuclear contract

Energy minister investigates R80m in irregularities in nuclear contract https://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2017-08-10-exclusive-energy-minister-investigates-r80-million-in-irregularities-in-nuclear-contract/?platform=hootsuite  BY JAN-JAN JOUBERT Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi has launched an investigation into several senior officials in her department for alleged nuclear tender irregularities amounting to R80-million.

Kubayi’s office has confirmed that it is probing the possible violation of National Treasury regulations when the department awarded an R80-million contract to a nuclear transactional adviser‚ Mahlaka-A-Phalala (M-A-P).

“There are still investigations going on the matters raised in your questions and therefore we are unable to respond as it will jeopardise and weaken the case‚” said a short statement from Kubayi’s office in response to 29 questions posed by TimesLIVE.

The minister can expect heavy questioning on the matter from DA MP Gordon Mackay when she appears before Parliament’s portfolio committee on energy on Tuesday.

Mackay said this was further evidence why the government nuclear procurement was “captured”.

“The nuclear deal is a prime example of state capture. The DA will demand from committee chairperson Fikile Majola that the energy portfolio committee tackle this matter with extreme urgency when we reconvene next month‚ and question the investment.

“We will also demand to know why deputy director-general [Zizamele] Mbambo remains in his post‚ and will propose an ad hoc committee to get to the bottom of this mess‚” said Mackay.

According to documents TimesLIVE has seen‚ energy director-general Thabane Zulu‚ his deputy Zizamele Mbambo‚ procurement specialist Ndaba Ngwane‚ and chief financial officer Yvonne Chetty have signed a deviation request to sign off the deal.

Zulu has since been moved to head the Strategic Energy Fund while Ndaba has quietly exited the department.

Mbambo remains in his position despite awarding the contract‚ which a leaked document shows amounts to R80-million. The scandal started at the end of August last year‚ when one of the consulting firms in the nuclear build programme‚ M-A-P – against which no allegations are made – compiled a report finding that the department was not ready to issue a request for proposal for the intended nuclear new build programme‚ estimated to be worth R1-trillion.

On September 22‚ Mbambo and Ngwane asked Chetty and Zulu to approve a deviation from normal procurement processes‚ in practice allowing M-A-P to continue work on the development of a transactional adviser.

The next day‚ Chetty and Zulu agreed to the deviation‚ which Chetty warned was subject to the buy-in of the National Treasury and the office of the attorney-general.

However‚ Mbambo and Ngwane merely told M-A-P to continue with a second phase of the contract‚ the cost of which would grow by R80-million to R100-million by March despite the required governance processes allegedly not having been followed.

On September 27‚ then minister of energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson suspended all payments related to the transactional adviser to M-A-P until the department had submitted a verification report to her on all deliverables received.

According to sources close to the events‚ this decision was never communicated to M-A-P as a service provider.

Instead‚ Mbambo‚ Zulu and Ngwane continued to engage M-A-P and received work deliverables towards the procurement process without a contract and without all regulations being followed. Among the serious allegations that TimesLIVE put to the Department of Energy over the past 10 days is that M-A-P was not subjected to a competitive bid process.

Instead‚ section 16 (a) 6.6 of the Public Finance Management Act was used – despite warnings by the relevant tender committee that this was wrong – to keep paying M-A-P.

This was done despite the law only allowing for the cost of the project to be extended by 15% without an open tender process.

At the beginning of March‚ M-A-P‚ which remained ignorant of Joemat-Pettersson’s instruction to stop payments‚ went to see her about payments outstanding‚ adding R60-million to the initial R20-million contract.

M-A-P also revealed to Joemat-Pettersson that it had a copy of the deviation request approved by Chetty and Zulu as given to it by Mbambo and Ndaba‚ despite the strict rules regarding the leaking of internal documents.

The whole matter came to a climax on March 16 when the departmental tender committee met and reviewed M-A-P’s bills.

Mbambo was in hot water and held to account as the meeting continued on March 22.

During the meeting‚ it came to light that Mbambo had already on September 1 given verbal instruction to M-A-P to extend its contract by a further R80-million to R100-million.

In the end‚ the Department of Energy shifted funds from the sundries account and paid M-A-P R56-million of the additional R80-million by the end of the financial year (March 31).

Zulu said only the department could comment. Numerous efforts to contact Mbambo for comment failed last week‚ and Ngwane could not be tracked down.

August 11, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Rosatom’s plans to DEVELOP NUCLEAR CLUSTER IN SOUTH AFRICA 

ROSATOM SAYS IT HAS PLANS TO DEVELOP NUCLEAR CLUSTER IN SA http://ewn.co.za/2017/06/19/rosatom-says-it-has-plans-to-develop-nuclear-cluster-in-sa  In April, the Western Cape High Court ruled that government’s decision to call for proposals for the procurement of 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear energy was unlawful and unconstitutional.Tara Penny JOHANNESBURG – Russia’s Rosatom has confirmed it is in contact with South African authorities on plans concerning the civilian use of nuclear energy.

The CEO of Rosatom’s foreign unit, Anastasia Zoteyeva made the comment while answering questions on the sidelines of a conference in Moscow on Monday morning.

She also told reporters that the Russian state nuclear corporation is proposing to develop a whole nuclear cluster in South Africa.

In April, the Western Cape High Court ruled that government’s decision to call for proposals for the procurement of 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear energy was unlawful and unconstitutional.

Earthlife Africa, which brought the case, said the judgment vindicates its argument that the process government has followed was unlawful because it failed to consult the public about its decision.

The case was first brought in October 2015, when Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute argued that former Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersen had not consulted the public nor Parliament before deciding to procure 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power.

The judgment meant all deals that government had pursued with Russia and the United States were not valid.

July 22, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment