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Joemat-Pettersson: Govt will build affordable nuclear power

Tina Joemat-Pettersson has told MPs her department will ensure the process is ‘above board’.

Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

CAPE TOWN - Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson says South Africa "will only build what it can afford" when it comes to the government's plans for a nuclear power.

Joemat-Pettersson has reiterated in Parliament that South Africa needs to expand its nuclear energy supply to provide base-load electricity and to meet targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

The minister was introducing the debate on her department's R7,5 billion budget in the National Assembly.

She gave no date for when her department will issue its request for proposals for the nuclear build programme.

But she says the request for proposals will both test the market's appetite, and provide Cabinet with binding commercial and financial information to allow it to decide on how to implement the government's nuclear power plans.

"This would include the price, affordability, the pace and the scale of the programme. We will only implement what our country can afford"

Joemat-Pettersson has told MPs her department will ensure the process is "above board", "free of any potential for corruption" and that it will not be rushed.

MINISTER ASSURES PUBLIC CORRUPTION WILL BE DEALT WITH

The minister says any hint of corruption in the government's planned nuclear power programme will be investigated.

She's told Parliament public acceptance was very important.

The government wants 9,600 megawatts of nuclear power feeding the national electricity grid by 2030.

But Joemat-Pettersson says the government will only implement what's affordable.

"Public acceptance is very important in this programme. When there is any perception that there's corruption around money we will take one step back. We will be delaying our process because of public acceptance."

She added that her department would issue a request for proposals, which will give Cabinet the hard information it needed to decide how to proceed with its nuclear plans.