Business Day denied nuclear cost reports

Three reports by top international consultancies which explore the cost of building 9 600 MW of nuclear power in South Africa have been classified as secret and will not be made available to the public, the Department of Energy has said.

Thyspunt is the preferred site for a proposed Nuclear Power Station

Thyspunt is the preferred site for a proposed Nuclear Power Station

The reports were commissioned in the past year by the department from KPMG, Ingerop and Deloitte to provide information on nuclear-procurement models, the cost of nuclear plants and financing models.

The Open Democracy Advice Centre requested the documents on behalf of Business Day under the Promotion of Access to Information Act last month.

In a reply received this week, deputy director-general of the department Zizamele Mbambo said “the records contain information to be used in the procurement process. The disclosure of such information will compromise the negotiations or prejudice the commercial competition as far as third parties are concerned”.

These were the same grounds used to maintain the secrecy of the intergovernmental agreements on nuclear co-operation.

But when the agreements were tabled in Parliament in June, they contained no proprietary or commercial information. The letter also states that the documents are classified. Mr Mbambo has said the department’s studies show that the nuclear build “is affordable” without giving details.

Business Day editor Songezo Zibi said the application was made as “we have reason to believe that the cost studies the department does not want the public to see until it is too late in the process, show that 9,600MW of nuclear will be unaffordable”.

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