Joemat-Pettersson: Govt still committed to nuclear power

A request for proposals for the procurement process has been postponed to allow time for consultations.

FILE: Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson (C). Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson says government is still committed to nuclear power despite a delay in the tender process.

Joemat-Pettersson was to issue what's called a request for proposals as part of the procurement process today but this has now been postponed to allow more time for further consultations.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe also addressed the matter at a post-Cabinet meeting briefing in Pretoria yesterday.

He says Cabinet is still behind the nuclear build programme.

"The last time where the Cabinet took a decision, it deliberated on this matter, the lead agent was the Department of Energy, so if there is a change of view - that has to come back to Cabinet for deliberation."

Last year, it was reported that a nuclear deal with Russia would release the suppliers from any liability arising from accidents.

This means South Africa would be responsible for any and all damage.

Russia would also apparently have special treatment when it came to tax, while South Africa would not.

The agreement was due to run for a minimum of 20 years but would in effect give Russia the right to block its partner from appointing anyone else to work on the same project.

Additional reporting by Tara Penny.