Statement by Climate Justice Now! South Africa

Government disregards Nedlac's outcome on a call for national stakeholder
debate on nuclear energy

On the 16th of March the South Africa cabinet endorsed the Integrated Resource Plan 2010 with a nuclear mix of 23% over the next 20 years. By approving the IRP 2010 as such, government has ignored concerns raised by society and indeed the National and Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) itself.

We believe that Cabinet's decision:

  1. To go for nuclear is unsafe and violates the National Environment Management Act and the Precautionary Principle enshrined in that legislation and the Draft Green Paper on Climate Change.
  2. Pre-empts climate policy and embeds a major expansion of fossil powered generation.
  3. Undermines the Nedlac process and decisions reached by consensus, within the Energy Task Team where it was finalised that: "Constituencies agreed to have a proper and focused national stakeholder debate on nuclear in 2011, prior to a decision being taken to include nuclear in the energy mix."

In light of the recent Japanese experience, it is difficult to fathom why government has insisted on releasing the IRP 2010 now, and moreover embedding nuclear within its mix, considering the breath and depth of statements being made globally including those by Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission Chairman Haruki Madarame, who has apologised for promoting nuclear.

Critically, through the Nedlac process, Government agreed not to take a decision on nuclear. As this is part of the official record of Nedlac, it forms a statuary regulation that the government is obligated to act in adherence. Essentially, government has bypassed its own rules to make the decision. If Government is of the opinion is can ignore accidents, NEMA, and NEDLAC, we believe that our participation within Nedlac is meaningless and our reliance on policy to protect society is wishful thinking.

We call on government to acknowledge that it has erred in going forward with the IRP 2010 and to withdraw their approval; call on Parliament to take action to get answers from Cabinet as to why it has acted contrary to the outcomes of Nedlac; call on parliament to ensure that government takes the necessary actions that sets in place a process of a stakeholder debate on nuclear energy to inform the IRP 2010, and that Parliament places these concerns on its official record as this session of Nedlac is from a parliamentary mandate.

These issues were tabled at the Nedlac today and no suitable response from Government's representatives at Nedlac were received. The community representative's then walked out of the meeting as mandated by the Climate Justice Now! South Africa.

For more information call:

Bobby Peek: 082 464 1383
Tristen Taylor: 084 250 2434