File image of Koeberg
Cape Town - Civic action organisation Outa on Tuesday accused the department of energy of giving the public too little time to weigh in on the draft Integrated Resource Plan, which proposes that South Africa adds 20 gigawatt of nuclear energy to its power grid over the next three decades.
"OUTA has written to Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, objecting strongly to the rushed and defective public engagement process for comment on the IRP," the group said.
"The IRP is some six years late and now government appears to be rushing this process through without providing the public and civil society organisations with sufficient time to participate."
Ted Blom, Outa's director for energy, said the group urged Joemat-Pettersson to withdraw the IRP and allow the Integrated Energy Plan to be finalised first.
The two long-awaited draft documents were released simultaneously by the minister late last month.
"Only once the IEP has followed due process and is promulgated, can the IRP commence, from which South Africa’s electricity plan be meaningfully applied. Until then, the current rushed process becomes meaningless."
Blom said it appeared that the IRP had been contrived to endorse government's policy of nuclear power expansion.
"Outa believes that the draft IRP has been reverse engineered to force nuclear into the energy mix and this in itself raises numerous questions about why the DOE is rushing this process.
"Outa’s energy team has identified several critical flaws in the IRP documents and methodology. When combined with the defective engagement process, it becomes clear to us that citizens’ rights, entrenched in the constitution, are being trampled upon."
He said if the IRP were left unchallenged, Eskom would proceed with haste to procure new reactors.
A process of public consultation on the IRP is due to start on Wednesday with presentations by the department at locations around the country. The deadline for written submission is February 15.
Greenpeace has urged Joemat-Pettersson to extend this until at least March 31.