An independent expert Is compiling the final environmental impact assessment report for a nuclear power station with a maximum capacity of 4000MW along the coast, with Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape still the most likely location
Published: 2012/04/12 07:45:09 AM
An independent expert was compiling the final environmental impact assessment report for a nuclear power station with a maximum capacity of 4000MW along the coast, with Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape still the most likely location, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said yesterday.
The final report was expected to be submitted by the end of the year to the Department of Environmental Affairs for evaluation and a decision on an environmental authorisation.
The fact that Thyspunt is still the preferred location — despite intense opposition from the local community — contradicts the view expressed by Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana in October that "the development will not proceed". She was minister of arts and culture at the time.
This was because the South African Heritage Resources Agency had refused to approve the heritage impact assessment report on the grounds that the proposed power station would have a negative effect on the heritage of the Khoi San.
Three possible sites have been identified: Bantamsklip, east of Hermanus; Duynefontein next to the existing Koeberg power station; and Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape, on the coast between Oyster Bay and St Francis Bay.
Thyspunt was the site that was recommended by the revised draft environmental impact report released last year on condition that it received the required authorisation and approval.
Studies of the three sites had not revealed any "fatal flaws", Ms Peters said in reply to a parliamentary question by Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Pierre Rabie. If the Thyspunt site was not approved for the first new nuclear station, it was possible that either the Bantamsklip or the Duynefontein sites may be approved.
"With respect to the Thyspunt site, issues have been raised relating to transport, the chokka (squid) industry and debris flow. These issues are being investigated by the specialists and if there are substantive changes made in the respective specialist reports, the public will be provided with the opportunity to comment on these reports. Further work is also being undertaken by the heritage specialists," she said.
Ms Peters said more than one site would be required for the programme envisaged in the integrated resource plan. The plan provides for an additional 9600MW of nuclear energy between 2010 and 2030, giving nuclear a 23% share of the total new energy build and a 20% share of the total energy mix in 2030 from its 5% in 2010.
The minister said Bantamsklip could be used for a subsequent nuclear power station if Thyspunt was used for the first one.
She said the final report from the environmental expert would take into account the public comments received on the revised draft report as well as the 28 specialist studies related to fauna and flora, wetlands, dune morphology, transport, heritage and socioeconomic activities such as the fishing industry, tourism and agriculture.
A few revised specialists’ reports would be made public in a few months’ time.
Questioned by DA MP Jacques Smalle about the planned solar park in Upington, Ms Peters said a process of appointing a consultant to conduct the feasibility study for the project was under way, though it had been delayed for a while.