Eskom: Nuclear site licence applications above board


According to Eskom says it has complied with the set regulations in its application for nuclear plants in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

“Eskom has complied with the process of the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) in its application for the Nuclear Installation Site Licence (NISL) in Thyspunt [in the Eastern Cape] and Duynesfontein [in the Western Cape.]

“Eskom takes exception to OUTA’s misinformed campaign that alleges Eskom is trying to rush through the process,” says the power utility on Wednesday.

On 28 July, the NNR says it had completed its initial review of Eskom’s NISL applications the power utility submitted on 10 March.

“The NNR announced that it had found both applications to be compliant with the relevant national policies as well as the NNR Act and associated regulations, and has accepted the applications for further processing,” says the power utility in a statement.

The first phase of the NNR’s public participation process requires Eskom as the applicant to inform the public and solicit comment on the NISL application.

On 29 June, the NNR directed Eskom to start the process of informing interested and affected parties, which the power utility did on22 July.

Eskom then published notices about its application in isiXhosa, Afrikaans and English in Provincial Gazettes and newspapers in and around the two areas. The notices requested interested and affected people to send their comments to the NNR by 29 August 2016.

Eskom said the dates were well within the period of 30 days that is prescribed in the NNR Act.

The notices mentioned Eskom’s intention to construct and operate multiple nuclear installations (power reactors) and associated auxiliary nuclear installations of a plant type and technology not yet identified.

The second phase entails deeper engagement in the form of a formal public hearings process pursuant to the provisions of Section 21 (4) (b) of the NNR Act.

During this process, Eskom is required to develop a Public Information Document (PID) in accordance with the NNR’s requirements which will be used by stakeholders to make in depth representations during the NNR’s public hearings process.

In September 2015, Eskom’s board provided its support in September 2015 to continue critical nuclear programme development activities.

Eskom received correspondence from the Department of Energy in December 2015, including a Section 34 determination under the Electricity Regulation Act, 2006, reconfirming its role as owner and operator of the 9, 600MW new build nuclear fleet.

The Energy Department was endorsed as the procuring agency in terms of the Section 34 determination gazetted on 21 December 2015. Eskom is working with the department to define its responsibilities during the procurement process.

Last week, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson reiterated that South Africa is pursuing a diversified energy mix that includes both independent power producers and the nuclear build.

In the State of the Nation Address (SONA) earlier in the year, President Jacob Zuma said South Africa plans to introduce 9 600 megawatts of nuclear energy in the next decade, in addition to running Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant in the Western Cape.