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I don’t know of a secret plan: Eskom nuclear chief

I don’t know of a secret plan: Eskom nuclear chief

Eskom’s chief nuclear officer said on Thursday that there are no secrets and corruption in the nuclear deal is unlikely.

David Nicholls told delegates at the Nuclear Power Africa conference that nuclear is not only the most viable option on the table for South Africa’s future energy needs, but it is also affordable.

Nicholls participated in a panel discussion on the country’s nuclear positioning where he said there has been no procurement process on nuclear.

“We are asked show us the nuclear plans you’ve signed with the Russians and I say I can’t do that. I don’t have one. I don’t know of a secret plan,” he said.

He insisted the process has been transparent yet “there is this presumption that behind this there is something else”.

In 2014 South Africa signed intergovernmental agreements with among others Russia and China as part of the multi billion rand nuclear built plans. However, the Western Cape High Court recently found these agreements lacked transparency, prompting the government to go back to the drawing board for a new and more transparent process.

The government’s nuclear plans have also hit hurdles due to costs and corruption claims.

Responding to questions on corruption claims with the nuclear deal, he said corruption on the nuclear deal “could be quite challenging in the sense that it is a state to state deal”.

“Now if you have multiple deals with small little contracts you tend to get lots of opportunities for corruption.”  Nicholls said that concerns over corruption arise with lots of small deals and when procurement is compartmentalised.

He said that Eskom would likely be contracting with overseas state organisations with a government to government loan system – something that would minimise opportunities for corruption.

Nicholls argued against claims that the uranium market is the ideal place for corruption in the nuclear deal.

“Uranium is traded like oil and the price is pretty much an international standard number. So if you ask me about that I would not go for uranium to claim corruption in the nuclear deal,” he said.

“My advice to the industry is that if you believe corruption will come into the nuclear deal it will not be based on the uranium supply, it would be based on something else. But it is easier to control as a single big deal than in multiple small deals.”


Read: Gupta media tries to discredit damning Eskom claims


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  • Steven Seagull

    I battle to trust anything anyone from a anc-government institution has to say.
    At the end of the day they report to the zuptas

  • Ouboet

    Next week’s headline:
    Secret Pan To Implement Corrupt Nuclear Deal (amaBhungane Exclusive).

  • Aristophanes

    “Eskom’s chief nuclear officer”. Well he would say that, wouldn’t he? Like that other vested interest, Kemm, you wonder which universe they actually came from, not to have apparently any inkling of what’s basically old news about the Guptas’ and their useless deep level uranium mine they got conned into buying and now have to try and squeeze some return out of. In a country with as big open spaces and huge amounts of sunshine, I think it’s actually treason to try to punt the unneeded and expensive nuclear option rather than renewable energy. Fair enough, there might be the need for one nuclear station for base load, but there doesn’t seem to be any talk about keeping on with coal which is much cheaper, even if Eksdom were to start doing the scrubbing they were supposed to use to remove the carbon some time ago.

    Nicholls and Kemm should stop their double act and ‘come clean’ (sic) about the real costs of doing nuclear, especially the decommissioning ones.

  • “David Nicholls told delegates at the Nuclear Power Africa conference that nuclear is not only the most viable option on the table for South Africa’s future energy needs, but it is also affordable.”
    NO IT’S NOT!

  • InReality

    Hahaaha… Just like the ANC also did not know about the “Secret War Room”… Yea right. Not fooling us!

  • Cnut Stunning

    What a liar

    • John Phoenix

      Blatant lies, replace don’t with do and you are closer to the truth. Nuclear the most affordable? Nope, maintenance and upkeep is not sexy, cutting a new ribbon and adding 30% to your Swiss account, while blaming apartheid and “proving” that the anc works for the people, now that’s what he’s all about. When all that actually needs to happen is maintenance by skilled engineers, and a focus on renewable energy, and for the love of Odin, stop giving away electricity to the rest of sub Saharan Africa.

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