Thyspunt final draft delayed yet again; China may participate in SA Nuclear

Breaking…There is a delay yet again on the release of the revised Draft EIR for Thyspunt. The Report will not be available during the first quarter 2014.

This was announced this month by Dave Lucas, Corporate Specialist (Environmental Management) of Eskom Holdings. “The consolidation of the comments from the public, from the environmental authorities and the reviews and formulation of responses that properly address the comments are taking longer than originally anticipated,” Lucas told St Francis Chronicle.

 “At this stage, based on the current status and the activities that are in progress, we expect that the Report could be released for public review in the third quarter of 2014.”

Lucas was also asked by this newspaper if there was any truth in a  report just before the end of 2013 that nuclear may be delayed because it was too expensive. Lucas replied that any queries in this regard had to be directed at the Department of Energy. He added it was noted that President Jacob Zuma made a statement on the procurement of 9600 MW of nuclear power in his State of the Nation Address.

Meanwhile it was announced by the government news agency, SAnews.gov.za, this month that the government has held talks with China to explore that country’s interest in participating in South Africa’s civil nuclear energy projects.

 Energy Minister Ben Martins and the Vice Administrator of China’s National Energy Commission, Tan Rongyao, met on at the beginning of March to discuss China’s proposed agreement, which is still under consideration by both parties. The draft agreement covers areas such as supply of nuclear energy products and infrastructure funding to promote regional nuclear power developments; supplier development and localisation; skills development and capacity building, and research and development.

This follows on two other agreements that deal with various aspects of the energy sector. In 2006, the two countries signed an inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy, which covers design, construction and operation of nuclear reactors. 

In 2010, South Africa signed a general cooperation agreement in the field of energy, covering oil and gas, renewable energy, energy efficiency and skills development. Last month, the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA (NECSA) signed a skills development and training agreement with two Chinese state nuclear energy corporations – the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC).

“The agreement will lay the foundation for further cooperation in skills development, and will be funded up to 95% by Chinese institutions,” Martins said. “The agreement will create opportunities for young South Africans to enrol in Chinese universities to further their studies in nuclear energy and other specialised areas of energy.

 “Policy certainty and predictability in the energy sector has contributed significantly to attracting foreign investors to the successful renewable programme and other energy components of the energy mix,”  Martins said.

Rongyao expressed China’s willingness to participate and invest in the nuclear energy sector in South Africa to support economic development, localisation, skills development and job creation. Government is looking at the various aspects involved in the rolling out of nuclear energy.

 South Africa’s nuclear energy policy was approved in 2008 and is further enhanced by the approval of the IRP 2010, which stipulates that nuclear power will form part of the country’s energy mix to a level of 9 600 MW.

Follow St Francis Chronicle on twitter: @stfranchronicle

 Source: Eskom, SAnews.gov.za

 

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