SOUTH AFRICAN activists who blocked a massive nuclear power project under former president Jacob Zuma have written to the energy minister to warn him about procuring new nuclear capacity without proper consultation.
The letter to Gwede Mantashe from Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), sent via their lawyers and seen by Reuters, comes after energy officials said last month they planned to procure 2,500 megawatts (MW) of new nuclear capacity by 2024.
The activists said they would approach the courts if the minister tried to procure nuclear power or request information from nuclear vendors without following proper regulatory processes and seeking input from the public.
An energy ministry spokesman did not reply to a request for comment.
South Africa’s long-term energy plan, released in October, did not include an allocation for 2,500 MW of new nuclear up to 2030. But it did say adding more nuclear was an option in the longer term or in case a long-delayed hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo does not materialise.
South Africa has signed a treaty for offtake of power from the Inga project, which has been plagued by disagreements.
Earthlife Africa and SAFCEI filed the court application that led to an intergovernmental agreement between South Africa and Russia on nuclear power being deemed unlawful in 2017. The high court’s ruling also set aside an information-gathering exercise that was intended to kick-start the procurement process.