“Nuclear programme has not been cancelled” – Dr Kemm
“Court case… just a bump in the road, not even a pothole”
The whole new nuclear plan is going ahead just as it always was – any stories of cancellation or delay are totally incorrect.
This is according to Dr Kelvin Kemm, CEO of Nuclear Africa and the Chairman of Necsa, who said ‘fake news’ was spread around the world that the nuclear programme had been cancelled. “That is not true.”
He also said the Thyspunt site development budget is R25-30-billion and all that is left with respect to the Thyspunt site is the Record of Decision (ROD) sign-off by the Minister of Environment Affairs.
Photo: Thyspunt, proposed site for the next SA nuclear power station site
Dr Kemm made these comments exclusively to St Francis Chronicle, following a query from this paper on the reasons for his five-day visit to Oyster Bay – Jeffrey’s Bay area earlier this month, accompanied by Nuclear Africa Project Coordinator, Carol van Niekerk.
They pair were looking at infrastructure logistics and potential construction operations in the area around the Thyspunt nuclear site, Van Niekerk said: “We travelled around and had meetings with people from Oyster Bay, Jeffery’s Bay and Port Elizabeth. The meetings were most productive and will lead to further follow-up meetings and visits.”
Ronel Meyer, Loffie Meyer, Dr Kelvin Kemm and Carol van Niekerk
When asked about the recent court case outcome in the Western Cape High Court, Dr Kemm said: “That was a bump in the road, not even a pothole.” He said the court set aside inter-governmental agreements (IGAs) with five foreign countries, some dating as far back as 2005.
Those were essentially friendship and cooperation agreements. They defined what type of technology platforms countries would use for nuclear interaction, the delineated nuclear training and maintenance procedures and systems, plus other similar issues, Dr Kemm said.
“They were not part of any procurement action. ‘Fake news’ was spread around that they were procurement deals, even after they were repeatedly assured they were not.”
Dr Kemm added the court dealt with two other matters, which are: the procurement process and an Eskom Section 34 determination. “The court instructed that procurement actions for the new nuclear programme be done via certain parliamentary processes and that purchase actions and potential outcomes be fully disclosed to Parliament.
“That is no problem. We always intended to do that. Nothing was being withheld, since we had not started procurement actions, no matter what the anti-nuclear activists say.
“We are quite happy to follow the same pathways and patterns of action that were followed for the wind and solar procurements. We will also happily do any public participation actions in any way that was done with the procurement and building of the wind farms around the Thyspunt nuclear site area.”
“People can have as much say in the nuclear determinations as they did for the wind farms. Already a number of public meetings have been held around the Kouga area, related to the Thyspunt site approval. I myself attended some of them.”
When asked about the Thyspunt site Dr Kemm said: “We can essentially start with site development immediately when the Environment Minister signs the ROD for the selected site. “We hoped to have had this done some time ago but it was delayed due anti-nuclear activists.
“Between Necsa and Eskom it has been stated that the budget for site development is of the order of R25-30 billion. Part of this money will be spent in the Thyspunt/PE area, if the Thyspunt site is selected.”
He also said: “We do not need any agreements signed with any foreign countries to start work on the site preparation. When we refer to the ‘Thyspunt site’ we have a mental picture of an area of about 100km radius around Thyspunt.”
This, Dr Kemm said, includes Port Elizabeth harbour and Coega harbour. It also includes all the roads and bridges between those places and Thyspunt.
“We have to ensure large tonnage structures can enter the harbours, then be landed and then fit though the entrances, then pass down the roads and over the bridges. If a bridge is not strong enough then we will rebuild it, or build a new one in another place.
“We also need to run electricity and water to site for construction purposes, and also sewage lines to accommodate the force.’
Dr Kemm added that preparing the site is something like building a garage for your new car. You can build a garage before you finally select the car. You will already know the approximate size of the car, so it is not a problem to build the correct garage. Same with the nuclear site.
Read this and other top stories pertaining to the Kouga region of the Eastern Cape in St Francis Chronicle print edition, on sale now at select stores in Kouga and PE.