R2K has filed access to information requests to the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) for findings from research done into Russian nuclear vendor company, Rosatom, and the economic feasibility of different energy-generation technologies.
This week, new minister of Energy, David Mahlobo, speaking at a briefing with the Portfolio Committee on Energy in Parliament, announced an Energy Indaba to take place in December.
After the Western Cape High Court ordered the nuclear deal procurement process back to the drawing board to ensure that it incorporates public participation in March this year, it is essential that meaningful participation and informed discussion is at the heart of the energy discussion. We will not stand for token processes that do not consult and include ordinary South Africans.
And yet the minister has not provided the public with key information needed for full and effective public participation to occur. The minister has not answered key questions around the cost, feasibility and time-frame of nuclear energy projects, and has given no new information on the agreement with Russian company Rosatom.
To ensure that the public has all of the information necessary to make informed decisions and input into this essential process, R2K has submitted two Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) requests for information around energy resources and the nuclear deal.
What have we asked for?
R2K has submitted a request for all findings and reports stemming from research into the economic feasibility of different energy-generation technologies to the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC). This research is cited on the GTAC website, which states that the research has until now had a specific focus on renewable energies, including solar, hydro, shale gas and imported gas, and also looks at nuclear energy.
We demand that all of the research and reports on economic feasibility be released to the public!
According to the GTAC website, ‘This includes understanding unit costs from each technology type for producing electricity, the likely impact on the consumer tariff, requirements for government support, suitability to private financing and ownership, major risks, probability of cost overruns, country readiness and other related characteristics that are important to take into account when making investment choices’.
We have also submitted a request for the report that was finalised by GTAC in November 2016 on the Russian nuclear vendor company, Rosatom. This is particularly important, since reports in the media last month suggest that the terms of the intergovernmental agreements between Russia and South Africa, gives Russian investors a more favourable position than those of other nations.
We cannot allow secret deals to be made with big companies that are not in the interest of a cost-effective energy solution that will provide jobs in South Africa. It is essential that all information on Rosatom and on the relationship between Rosatom and the South African government is transparent and included in consultation processes.
GTAC will now have 30 days to respond to the request.
We have a right to know!
Why nuclear energy when South Africa has readily available and cheaper renewable energy options?
Can South Africa afford R1 trillion for nuclear when there is such a need for further investment on basic social and economic needs and services?
Why is the government so intent on buying nuclear energy when most countries are opting for renewable energy?
Who stands to benefit from the nuclear deal?
Why has government been so secret about the nuclear procurement process: what are they hiding?
Recent reports from the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Energy have left confusion and misunderstandings on the way forward on nuclear. There is a veil of secrecy that has covered the new nuclear procurement must end!
This week, R2K activists joined a number of civil actions took place around Cape Town, to highlight the need for energy justice in South Africa and to drive the idea of a future without nuclear energy. This included leading a picket in Langa on Tuesday morning, before Parliament’s Energy Portfolio committee hearing with Minister Mahlobo.
R2K’s Pupa Fumba said: “We are trying to raise awareness of the impact this deal will have on all of us. It will increase inequality in SA. It is going to impact the poor the most – it will be a nuclear poverty.”