LegalBrief 8 September 2020
The extension of the life of the Koeberg nuclear power plant, which is due to be decommissioned in 2024 after 40 years in operation, is not a foregone conclusion, according to the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR). A Cape Argus report notes that this emerged during an online information-sharing session held by the NNR for civil society at which the Koeberg Alert Alliance queried recently announced plans by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to lead to a nuclear programme delivering new installed capacity of 2.5GW, and which provides for the extension of the life of Koeberg. NNR programme manager Peter Bester said the decision whether or not to extend Koeberg’s life would be based on the results of a public participation exercise, among other things. ‘Eskom must first demonstrate that the plant can be operated safely for the intended period, as well as taking into account comments received from interested and affected parties,’ said Bester. NNR manager of communications and stakeholder relations Gino Moonsamy said the NNR required an application from Eskom to extend the life of the plant by at least 42 months, and in the safety case, 24 months, before the current licensing basis lapses. The Koeberg Alert Alliance’s Peter Bekker claimed the NNR and Eskom were being secretive about their engagements and not providing enough information on their activities when requested. Moonsamy said NNR could not release information provided by Eskom to a third party as such information was subject to various controls.