- New President Kgalema Motlanthe has yet to be briefed
11 November 2008
Opponents of the Nuclear Energy Policy are hereby notified to back calls for an urgent Parliamentary debate because the Bill has completely by-passed the National Assembly.
Five days to complete plenaries remain and the Bill is expected to be gazetted sometime this November.
In a letter to the Speaker of Parliament urging for this debate, CANE chairman Mike Kantey wrote: ”The future of this country, Madame Speaker, depends on your and your party’s accurate assessment of the popular mood and we believe that, if you refuse to accept such a debate on nuclear power at this precise time, it will send a clear signal to the masses of people who were promised a “better life for all” in the 1990s. “We do not believe that spending over R1-trillion on a nuclear strategy will be compatible with combating rampant crime and HIV/AIDS, delivering basic services to the poorest of the poor (including refugees!), and developing a sound and affordable education, health and public transport system. “We therefore appeal once again to heed the Honourable Member’s call for an open debate on nuclear policy.”
In his letter to the Speaker on 5 November reiterating his call for nuclear debate in Parliament, the DA’s Gareth Morgan said that the Policy had recently been completed by the Minerals and Energy Department despite having received no input from the country’s MPs.
“It betrays many of the principles of the 1998 Energy White Paper, which clearly states the ‘government will ensure that decisions to construct new nuclear power stations are taken within the context of an integrated energy policy planning process, with due consideration given to all relevant legislation, and the process subject to structured participation and consultation with all stakeholders’, Morgan wrote.
The Pelindaba Working Group said the Bill is NOT a democratically produced policy. Mbeki’s Cabinet had made a unilateral decision to approve the Policy. A draft was submitted for public comment – none of which were ever made public and many not even acknowledged by the DME or it Nuclear Chief Tseliso Maqubela who maintained most submissions were “pro”.
Maqubela had failed to respond to several challenges over his contentious statements and simply ignored numerous lengthy submissions and calls for an all-inclusive summit on the issue.
During the public hearings on the National Energy Bill in August, DME officials maintained the National Energy Policy was not on the Parliamentary schedule for this year and was in abeyance until next year. So when was this Policy approved? Has it been written into law? What, if any, announcements were ever made?
A nuclear industry website announced the Bill will be gazetted this November.
Even new South African President Kgalema Motlanthe has yet to be briefed on the new nuclear build programme. This was admitted to journalists in Pretoria by Minerals Minister Buyelwa Sonjica yesterday. She blamed this on the recent political upheaval and added that the nuclear project was still enjoying top priority.
Asked if the current economic turmoil would delay the project, Sonjica said that the impact of the financial meltdown’s effect on the local economy would be investigated, and a solution, if needed, “would be found”.
If ever there an issue that warrants focus in the coming election campaigns, this is it!!
Members are urged to contact their MPs to lobby for this debate and against the adoption of the Nuclear Energy Policy.
|Call to put nuke policy to Parliament|
By John Yeld
7 November 2008
|The new national nuclear policy which the government will reportedly gazette before the end of this month has completely bypassed Parliament and ordinary MPs have not had any input into its formulation, says the opposition DA.
It is now asking the Speaker to place the policy on Parliament’s agenda.
The move coincides with concern by some “interested and affected parties” that they are still not being given enough time to respond to the environmental impact assessment report for the controversial Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) “mini” nuclear demonstration project that Eskom wants to build at Koeberg. The already-extended deadline for comment is Friday.DA environment spokesperson Gareth Morgan said the government’s announcement of its preferred bidder to construct a new conventional nuclear power station – “Nuclear 1″, the first of what is expected to be a series of new conventional nuclear facilities in addition to the PBMR project – was “imminent”.
Also, the “National Nuclear Policy for the Republic of South Africa” recently completed by the Minerals & Energy department, was apparently about to be published in the Government Gazette, despite having received no input from the country’s MPs, said Morgan.
“Therefore a debate on the matter is crucial.”
The process of formulating the new policy had been entirely driven by the Cabinet, he added.
“It betrays many of the principles of the 1998 Energy White Paper, which clearly states the ‘government will ensure that decisions to construct new nuclear power stations are taken within the context of an integrated energy policy planning process, with due consideration given to all relevant legislation, and the process subject to structured participation and consultation with all stakeholders’.
“It’s true there’s an energy crisis in South Africa and increased generation from nuclear may very well have a role to play in South Africa’s energy future.” But Morgan said there were serious issues that needed to be addressed. These included the true costs of nuclear power generation and its effects on tariffs.· This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Argus on November 07, 2008 Source: http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=6&art_id=vn20081107114953731C601440
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