EIA for Thyspunt likely release in next few months

Eskom is currently awaiting the outcome of the final Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regarding its nuclear plans from the Department of Environmental Affairs, according to  Loyiso Tyabashe, GM (acting): Nuclear New Build – Eskom.

  “There have been some delays in the release of the Environmental Authorisation (EA) due to the scope and complexity of the project, but the Department has indicated that the EA should be issued by mid-2017,”  he said  at a meeting between Eskom and Kouga  Municipality officials earlier this month. He added that applications for two Nuclear Installation Site Licences, at Thyspunt and Duynefontein, have been submitted to the National Nuclear Regulator.  

 Kouga Council is not opposed to nuclear development per se

At the meeting Kouga Municipality’s Executive Mayor, Elza van Lingen, said the Kouga Council is not opposed to nuclear development per se. “But we are not willing for Kouga and its people to be disadvantaged by the project. If a nuclear plant is to be built in our area, Kouga’s people must be ready to reap the benefits and proper measures must be in place to mitigate any potential threats.”

After the meeting in a joint statement from Eskom and Kouga Municipality, it was announced that seven work groups will be established to help prepare the Kouga municipal area for the construction of a nuclear plant at Thyspunt, should the national power project receive the green light.

The work groups will be sub committees of the Thyspunt Nuclear Project Joint Steering Committee, set up at the end of last year. It is co-chaired by Eskom and the mayor with members from both these entities, the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEEAT), East Cape Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta EC), the SAPS, Sarah Baartman District Municipality (SBDM) and the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa).

The groups will be responsible for identifying and addressing opportunities and potential pitfalls for the Kouga area, including infrastructure shortages and socio-economic impacts.

Tyabashe said they will be facilitated by either Eskom or Kouga Municipality and consist of senior representatives from key government departments and state-owned enterprises. They will report back to the Joint Steering Committee on a quarterly basis.

Also at the meeting the Mayor  stressed that a final decision had not yet been made about the proposed nuclear plant at Thyspunt. “These structures are being put in place so as to ensure role players and stakeholders are ready should the project receive the nod.

“If approved, Thyspunt will be the biggest development our municipal area has ever seen. We want to ensure that the best interests of our communities are taken into account at all times,” she said.    

The proposed work groups are: Infrastructure, Human Capital, Regulatory and Environment, Supplier Development, Safety and Security, Finance and Stability, and Stakeholder Management and Communication. The proposed scope, mandate, activities, budget requirements, risks, milestones and membership of each of the seven groups were discussed at a meeting of the Joint Steering Committee at Jeffreys Bay on 7 April.

Site development of the proposed nuclear site at Thyspunt – Eskom announces early plans

 Three weeks ago Tyabashe, spoke on the ‘proposed’ site development at Thyspunt and provided on-site and off-site activities at the Nuclear Africa conference at Midrand. The conference hosted by Nuclear Africa was attended by world leaders in the field of nuclear. (Read highlights of what some of the main speakers said: https://stfrancischronicle.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/p12.pdf ).

Tyabashe said the Eastern Cape would present opportunities for  social upliftment, development, job creation, and SMMEs entrepreneurial activities. “Site development scope is essential for ensuring timely construction and commissioning of the main power plant,” he said, adding that Power Plant construction is divided into main nuclear vendor scope and site development (owner’s scope).

Tyabashe gave an overview to conference delegates  of the current situation. He said the EIA is with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) . Eskom submitted the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) in February 2016 for deployment of 4000 MWe through PWR nuclear technology.

Thyspunt site (near Humansdorp/Jeffrey’s Bay, EC) is recommended as the preferred site and Eskom is awaiting the DEA to provide a decision (in the form of an Environmental Authorisation).

On the Nuclear Installation License (NISL) with the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), he said the NISL application was submitted  to the NNR in March 2016.

NNR acknowledged receipt and acceptance of the application in accordance with the regulations

Eskom directed by NNR to publicise these applications in government gazettes, specific stakeholders, and to the specific publishers

Public hearings and technical review shall commence, followed by the final decision.

On land acquisition , he revealed that the Thyspunt site is at 93% ownership.  Remaining land parcels are being progressed towards 100% ownership

Contractors’ village procured.  Further land parcels required as more land is needed for villagesI. If the plant go es ahead there will be  on site- support for roads, buildings and individual contracts for different scopes would be signed.

There would also be off-site support infrastructure for things like construction of a village for workers, local, regional and national roads. and individual contracts for different scopes in conjunction with the requisite authorities.. There would be transmission lines and aHV yard ,  There would be individual contracts for the first three reloads for power plant performance guarantees as regards nuclear fuel. There would also be individual contracts for the nuclear back-end and general supply services.

As for proposed on-site activities, Tyabasahe said there would be:

*  developments for Roads and Harbours, such as Humansdorp-Oyster Bay road (approx. 30 km) surfacing, site  northern bypass road (approx 10 km) surfacing,  and

requisite improvements on the Humansdorp-Cape St Francis road would be performed;

*  N2 interchange alterations where required, and strengthening of bridges

* On-site Eastern and Western Access roads (approx. 20 km) development 

*  Site and construction village roads, parking, etc.

* Development of quarries for aggregate material

* PE harbours requisite improvements for handling heavy and ultra heavy equipment

As for  Site clearance and preparation, this would include:

Bush clearance of the site, Preparation of site terraces, Preparation of lay down areas for all contractors,

Landscaping, Rehabilitation per Environmental Management Plan (EMP)

For Infrastructure there would be:

Water plants (On-site and Off-site)

Sewage plant (On-site and Off-site)

On-site electrical supply and reticulation

On-site water and sewer reticulation

Communication infrastructure

Fencing and Security commensurate with the site development stage

Facilities would include:

Construction of on-site buildings (e.g. admin blocks, training centres, visitors’ centre, etc.)

Construction or improvement of off-site infrastructure related to power plant construction and operations (e.g. disaster management centre, conventional waste facilities, etc.)

Construction of villages for workers

High Voltage (HV) facilities would include:

Construction of 132 kV lines to site

Construction of 5 x 400 kV lines from site HV yard to Grassridge and Dedisa/PE substations

Construction of the HV yard

General supply services would include: Catering, Cleaning, Maintenance, Accommodation

Socio-economic development (SED) would include:

Corporate social investment (CSI) for schools

CSI for skills development to support construction and improve local participation

CSI to support Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) to support and improve local participation

CSI for improving health facilities


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