Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has promised Parliament that a thoroughgoing affordability study will be undertaken as part of the procurement process for nuclear energy, but said that this will not be shared with the public as it is likely to be “classified” information.
The undertaking that information on the affordability will be shared with Parliament, albeit behind closed doors, marks a departure from the approach of the Department of Energy, which has to date insisted that this be kept secret until the procurement process has been completed.
Ms Joemat-Pettersson and officials from the Department of Energy briefed Parliament’s energy committee on Tuesday on the inter-governmental agreements on nuclear co-operation signed with five nuclear vendor countries in recent months.
In preliminary remarks to the committee, Ms Joemat-Pettersson said: “We are committed to a thorough cost benefit analysis of nuclear energy. It is part of the procurement process. We are not going to compromise our country in any way. Once we have completed the funding model we will bring it to the committee.”
She said that the Treasury “was driving the process of the funding model”.
Information on the funding model was likely to be tabled initially “as classified”, she said.
“We have a legal opinion that says that we can present documents as classified,” she said.
Energy committee chairman Fikile Majola said he recognised that some information “that was hard to handle” should be tabled confidentially.
Anything that committed SA to a binding agreement with financial implications, would have to be brought to the committee, he said. BD Live