Posts tagged as: nuclear

Ghana:Stakeholders Evaluate Renewable Energy Efforts

By Ernest KISSIEDU

Ghana is making progress in integrating renewable energy into its energy mix. However, there is little convergence among stakeholders on how well the country is doing in terms of the comprehensiveness of its approach.

At the just-ended 3rd Ghana Renewable Energy Fair in Accra last week, public sector actors such as politicians and technocrats were celebrating giant strides taken towards renewable energy integration.

On the other side were civil society actors and academics who believed the progress being made was missing several important factors.

The strongest words were delivered by Prof Chris Gordon, a Lecturer at the University of Ghana.

For him, the country needs to develop human capacity which must not be restricted to any sort of curricula or training.

“That human capacity needs to glow again beyond mere academics and really into practice but beyond practice; we need to change the psychology of the Ghanaian. As a nation, we are very slow to adopt new technologies because we are very comfortable with the basics of usual approach in doing things.

“And somehow, we need to change the way we do things in the way we can dip from and jump over some of the bad decisions that have been made by the country. We are not being serious with the kind of energy capacity being generated. We have not factored in changes in technology.”

Adding his voice, Ishmael Edjekumhene of Kumasi Institute of Technology, Energy and Environment (KITE) said: “We need a renewable energy fund or package to improve renewable energy in Ghana.”

He observed that investors are not attracted to doing business with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) because it is not a viable entity.

Kofi Bentil of Policy think-tank IMANI Ghana, opined that the government must avoid taxing any form of renewable energy investments in the country. “We should move into renewables. Changing everything is not possible but a transition is much possible. In this country, biogas and solar will be able to take care of us.”

2000 people

The Energy Commission held the conference in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy with the 3-day event providing the platform for about 2000 participants from the renewable energy sector to interact.

The programme was on the theme, “Renewable Energy: An Engine for Distributed Wealth Creation.”

Ing. Seth A. Mahu, an engineer at the Ministry of Energy, emphasised that government has adopted various strategies to increase renewable energy capacity and access to electricity throughout the country.

These include: Utility Scale Renewable Energy, Scale-Up Renewable Energy, Mini-grid Electrification and Off-grid Electrification project.

According to him, programmes such as the Renewable Energy Programme, Nuclear Power Development Programme and Clean Coal Development Programme have been diversified into the National Energy Mix.

In addition, a programme for enhancing access to sustainable cooking fuels and energy efficiency and conservation has also been streamlined to help minimize environmental impact of energy supply in the country.

“Our target is to concentrate on investment-focused framework to promote and develop RETs for sustainable economic growth, and contribute to improved social life and reduction of adverse climate change effects,” he indicated.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said renewable energy, which is fast emerging throughout the world, when harnessed wisely, would contribute significantly to the rapid socio-economic growth while safeguarding the environment.

“The effective development and utilisation of the country’s renewable energy potential can therefore play key roles in achieving government’s objective of social transformation through wealth creation.”

South Africa: Youth Encouraged to Take Interest in Nuclear

Energy Deputy Minister Thembi Majola has called on young people to acquire skills that will enable them to take up opportunities in the nuclear energy sector.

The Deputy Minister was addressing the annual South African Young Nuclear Professionals Society (SAYNPS) nuclear youth summit on Wednesday.

She said with the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, there is a need for the youth to acquire the requisite skills, expertise and experience so as to be able to contribute effectively to the development and growth of the economy of the country.

“This Summit takes place at an opportune time in our country when unemployment especially amongst the young people is at its highest. Many of the unemployed young people lack the skills required by the knowledge economy,” the Deputy Minister said.

She said South Africa needs to take urgent action in order to ensure security of supply for the country for the next 20 years.

The integrated Resource Plan (IRP) sets out a path for South Africa’s long term energy future introducing new players and diversifying sources of energy.

“Importantly, the IRP envisages a balanced energy mix with nuclear as an integral part of our baseload, as is the case currently,” she told the summit taking place in Jeffreys Bay, Eastern Cape.

She said government has created a conducive and enabling environment that has attracted massive investments in the renewable energy sector, with the Eastern Cape Province leading in the field of wind energy.

Deputy Minister Majola also paid tribute to the SAYNPS, saying that since its formation in 2006, it has actively championed the interests of all young professionals in the nuclear sector.

“[It has not only] influenced debates on the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, but also practically providing a pool of dedicated practitioners in the entire nuclear value chain in our country. SAYNPS has been an ardent advocate for youth skills development, preservation and propagation of nuclear knowledge, expertise and its application,” said the Deputy Minister.

Eskom’s nuclear build

Also speaking at the summit, Eskom’s acting General Manager for the nuclear new build, Loyiso Tyabashe, said South Africa is at the centre of the energy revolution.

“As young people, we have to push ourselves to a point of readiness,” he said, adding that the power utility is taking steps to empower young people with the relevant skills, knowledge and opportunities to participate meaningfully in the energy industry.

“We anticipate the commencement of South Africa’s nuclear new build programme. We look at their participation across the spectrum from enabling them to follow careers to being entrepreneurs offering services and building a thriving business in the energy space,” he said.

Eskom has spent R3.7 billion towards black youth-owned businesses in the past three years. The power utility also provides support for small enterprise development through sponsorship for the New Generation Movement (NGM).

Last week, the power utility held a successful launch of a Schools Nuclear Debate programme in Port Elizabeth. The aim of the programme held in the Eastern Cape was to promote an open discussion around nuclear energy and encourage young people to engage critically as the country considers future energy needs and sources to support socio-economic growth.

“Furthermore, in June 2016, we launched the Eskom Nuclear Operator Pipeline project at the Koeberg Power Station in Cape Town as part of Eskom’s plans to beef up local nuclear resources to support the country’s needs.”

The project provides a platform for developing a robust nuclear operator pipeline for South Africa.

The programme, spanning five years, aims to build a path to ensure that there are sufficient local nuclear resources to service the country’s present and future nuclear needs. After the five-year period, trainees will qualify as nuclear plant operators or will enter related career equivalents,” said Tyabashe.

The summit will conclude on Friday.

South Africa: Experts Talk Nuclear Reactors

Over 100 delegates from 18 countries and representing 52 organisations have gathered in the Kruger National Park to hold a conference on high precision analysis techniques which can be used in the fabrication of components for nuclear reactors.

South Africa is currently hosting the 9th International Conference on Mechanical Stress Evaluation by Neutron and Synchrotron Radiation (MECA SENS), the first to be hosted on the African continent.

Opening the two-day conference on Tuesday, South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) Chairman Dr Kelvin Kemm said that in order for South Africa to be able to design, fabricate and export nuclear reactor components, it is necessary to be in control of the entire technology value chain from the fundamental mathematics to the factory fabrication.

“It is gratifying to see so many recognised world experts gathered together here in South Africa to examine, on an atomic level, such important technology as how minuet cracks move through metallic structures,” he said.

The conference, which Necsa is hosting in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will conclude on Thursday after which some of the delegates will visit the Necsa site near Pretoria.

Necsa, which is one of the state owned entities falling within the ambit of the Department of Energy, is mandated to undertake and promote research and development (R & D) in the field of nuclear energy and radiation sciences and technology and subject to the Safeguards Agreement, to make these generally available.

South Africa

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South Africa: Nuclear Remains a Viable Option – Deputy Minister

The demand for nuclear power continues to grow, demonstrating that nuclear remains a viable option for countries around the world, Energy Deputy Minister Thembi Majola said on Tuesday.

“The report published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the ‘International Status and Prospects for Nuclear Power 2017’ indicates that there are 447 operational nuclear power reactors in 30 countries and 60 are under construction in 15 countries. It similarly illustrates that the demand for nuclear power is on a positive trajectory, demonstrating that it remains a viable option for member states,” said the Deputy Minister.

Speaking at the 61st Session of the IAEA General Conference in Vienna, Austria, the Deputy Minister said energy security is central to economic development across the world.

She said South Africa — which forms part of the atomic energy agency’s member states — has an excellent track record for safely operating its nuclear facilities for over 50 years, as nuclear power is an integral part of the country’s energy mix.

“Through our nuclear power plant Koeberg, the country has demonstrated its ability for long-term, safe operation. This is currently the lowest operating cost station in South Africa. In order to ensure energy security and mitigate the carbon footprint, we are engaged in efforts to expand our nuclear programme,” said the Deputy Minister.

Deputy Minister Majola said South Africa is looking forward to participating in the forthcoming IAEA International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century. The conference will provide an opportunity for discussion and the exchange of views on the key issues related to the development and deployment of nuclear power.

She said South Africa remains committed to ensuring and maintaining effective nuclear security measures in respect of all nuclear and other radioactive material.

“[This is] in accordance with our national and international obligations, and we therefore welcome the entry into force of the 2005 Amendment to Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. National efforts are at an advanced stage to ratify the amended convention.”

Deputy Minister Majola said nuclear security remains a global concern, which requires international cooperation. In this context, South Africa welcomes the outcome of the International Nuclear Security Conference, held in December 2016, where member states reaffirmed their collective commitment to nuclear security, while recognising that it must be addressed in a comprehensive manner.

“South Africa further wishes to underscore that measures to strengthen nuclear security should not hamper member states inalienable right to pursue the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

South Africa welcomes and supports the adoption of the IAEA Nuclear Security Plan for 2018-2021 by consensus at the recent Board of Governors meeting. Undoubtedly this Plan will go a long way in assisting the IAEA to support member states in their efforts to strengthen their respective nuclear security regimes.”

The Deputy Minister said South Africa will review its nuclear security plan to align it, where appropriate, with international best practice.

Africa: Adolescents Lead in HIV Infection Rate – Report

By Zephania Ubwani

Arusha — Adolescents is the only age group where HIV rates are increasing faster in Africa, according to medical experts.

HIV and full-blown Aids is also the biggest killer of adolescents in the continent, they said ahead of a regional conference starting here today (Monday) on how to protect children from HIV.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by next year at least 1.8 million children will be on treatment from the sexually transmitted disease by next year.

For Tanzania, recent statistics by Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation (EGPAF) indicate that out of the 1.4 million people living with HIV, 91,000 of them were children aged O to 14 years.

The US-based Foundation has been supporting HIV and Aids programmes in Tanzania since 2003/2004 and as of 2017, it had supported 453 health facilities with HIV services integrated with tuberculosis and reproductive health.

This was revealed as medical and allied experts are converging here for a conference set to discuss the psycho social support for the children and youth living with HIV.

The three-day forum, expected to attract 400 participants from 13 countries across the globe, will be organized by the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI), a non-profit organization.

Speaking during a pre-conference session dedicated to the children here on Saturday, the permanent secretary in the Health ministry Ms Sihaba Nkinga emphasized the role of psychosocial support in well upbringing of children and youth.

She said although Tanzania has made significant strides in bringing down child mortality and morbidity, there were great challenges to be addressed in improving the lot for them.

“The challenges facing the children and youth in Tanzania and in the region (Southern Africa Development Community- Sadc) are enormous”, she said, calling for collective efforts to correct that.

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Nigeria: Atomic Energy Agency Advocates Policy On Safety in Nigeria

By Clement Nwoji

Abuja — The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team have urged the Federal Government to establish a national policy on safety with legal framework that conforms with the IAEA safety standards.

The team of IAEA and IRRS were respectively led by Peter Johnson, a director of IAEA division of radiation and waste safety and Lamberto Matteocci, Technical Coordinator for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection at the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research.

The IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national regulatory infrastructure for nuclear and radiation safety, while recognising the responsibility of each state to ensure safety.

They made the recommendation to the federal government in its report after a 10-day mission to assess the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety as well as the existing infrastructure in Nigeria.

While making presentation on the teams’ findings, recommendations and suggestions, the IAEA leader, Peter Johnson, further said that the government should ensure that the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NNRA) is truly independent and free from influences in its decision- making.

According to him, “The NNRA should carry out an analysis of all competencies needed to cover its responsibilities, and develop and implement a human resource and training plan.

“The regulatory body should ensure that all facilities and activities have a valid authorization and establish and implement an enforcement policy to respond to noncompliance.”

The team encouraged the government amend its action plan to account for any new issues of the recommendations and suggestions and to make the report open to the public.

However, the IRRS team leader, Lamberto Matteoci, said the team recognised the strong commitment of Nigeria to improving nuclear and radiation safety. He expressed believes that the outcome of the mission would be of great help to Nigeria in order to enhance its national regulatory framework.

Among the findings of the team include that Nigeria makes extensive use of radiation sources in medical industrial applications as well as in science research; has research reactor used for the analysis of materials and trainings; has decided to include nuclear power in its energy mix to meet an increasing demand for electricity and support economic development.

While responding, the NNRA Director General, Prof. Lawrence Dim, pledged that the federal government would work with the IAEA to develop a work plan for the implementation of the mission’s recommendations and suggestions.

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South Africa: Zuma’s Nuclear Plans Thwarted – for Now

analysisBy Judith February

It’s been another not-so-good week and a bit for South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma. Apart from being booed at the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) May Day rally on Sunday, he’s feeling pressure all around.

In an interview with the BBC, former president and ANC secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe said he thought Zuma should have stepped down after the Constitutional Court judgment on Nkandla. He also called utterances by hardcore Zuma loyalist, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, in relation to South Africa’s recent credit downgrade, ‘populism of the worst kind’.

Both Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan support a judicial inquiry into state capture, something Zuma appears desperate to avoid. Zuma in typical style shrugged all of this off during Freedom Day celebrations in KwaZulu-Natal.

And then the National Health Education & Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) and the Communication Workers Union tried to prevent Zuma from speaking at the COSATU Workers’ Day rally.

Yet despite all this, probably the most important piece of news came from the Western Cape High Court recently when Judge Lee Bozalek, with Judge Elizabeth Baartman concurring, set aside two determinations by former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson which were to lay the basis for future nuclear procurement.

The application, brought by civil society groups doggedly pursuing the matter, means that the so-called nuclear deal has gone back to the drawing board.

The court found that the South African-Russian nuclear co-operation deal was ‘unconstitutional and unlawful’ given that there was no public participation in the process. The reality is that the deal has been shrouded in secrecy.

The court held that the international agreements had to be tabled in Parliament in terms of section 231 (2) of the constitution. This required the approval of both Houses of Parliament. But the minister curiously tabled the international co-operation agreements between the US, Russia and South Korea in terms of section 231 (3), which does not require parliamentary endorsement.

That section states that agreements of a ‘technical, administrative or executive nature’ need not have the approval of both Houses of Parliament and only need to be tabled ‘within a reasonable time’.

This, the court held, was irrational. That Joemat-Pettersson was allowed to flout process in such a manner when clearly the agreements fell outside of section 231 (3) shows Parliament’s neglect of its oversight role.

The court ruling somewhat thwarts Zuma’s nuclear plans – for now. For a number of years, there have been serious reservations regarding the nuclear deal. In addition to the exorbitant cost and secret nature of the process, there are safety and environmental issues to be considered.

The National Development Plan encourages a host of alternatives to nuclear. It seems of course that the president, in particular, is hell-bent on the nuclear option to provide South Africa with 9 600MW of nuclear power.

The draft 2016 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) should be the primary policy guide and describes a future energy mix that includes, but is not limited to, nuclear energy. But, aside from the IRP, the National Development Plan has a clear commitment to an ‘energy mix’ which would include renewable energy sources.

The government seems for some reason to be relying on the 2010 IRP that suggests that 9 600MW of nuclear power is needed. Its pursuit of nuclear above everything else is confusing in many ways.

Joemat-Pettersson was on record as saying that the deal would create thousands of jobs and also ‘place a considerable order to local industrial enterprises worth at least $10 billion’. That really did sound like arms deal and the so-called National and Defence Industrial Participation programmes. The nuclear deal would, in fact, dwarf the arms deal of 1999 in both size and potential for corruption.

In 1999, then Treasury official Roland White warned that South Africa’s commitment to the arms deal would depend on its ‘appetite for risk’. The failure of the arms deal and the corruption associated with it have caused an inestimable amount of damage to South Africa’s democracy and its institutions. It’s worth learning the lessons of the past.

Section 217 of the constitution is clear regarding procurement processes when it says they should be ‘in accordance with a system which is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective’.

Parliament also has a constitutional duty to ensure that it exercises oversight over the executive, and can now redeem itself after its failure to deal with the breach of procedure by the minister in tabling the international agreements mentioned above.

The bold high court ruling shows that this nuclear deal is all of our business, and there can be no place for secrecy when the state is about to commit South Africans to billions of rand in expenditure and bind future generations to potential crippling debt.

Doubtless, Zuma will seek to appeal the ruling and forge ahead despite it. His patronage network has allegedly set itself up to rake in billions from this deal and he has after all shown a casual disregard for the courts and has little appetite for accountability.

Given the intense scrutiny from the public and civil society organisations, this will prove challenging. At the very least the potential deal will be held up by court processes that will be inconvenient for those who stand to benefit from it.

Zuma once said democracy is a ‘funny thing’. His associates must be standing in the wings somewhat irritated and perhaps not finding it so funny after all.

South Africa: Energy Minister Says Government Will Appeal Nuclear Judgment

Photo: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

South Africans protest (file photo).

By Melanie Gosling

New energy minister Mmamoloko Kubayi may appeal last week’s court judgement which found the government’s proposed nuclear expansion programme was unlawful. Kubayi told Pariament’s Energy Portfolio Committee today she was to meet her legal team to decide whether to appeal the ruling by the Western Cape High Court or to seek a declaratory order.

The minister conceded that there had been “issues around public participation” concerning the proposed nuclear programme. If necessary she would hold public hearings on the nuclear proposal. The legal advisors were also looking at whether new nuclear agreements had to be signed with nuclear vendor countries, or whether the existing agreements could be tabled in Parliament again.

The court scrapped the nuclear agreements with Russia, the US and South Korea as it found the agreements had been tabled in a manner which circumvented Parliamentary approval and public scrutiny. This was unlawful and unconstitutional.

“The judgement doesn’t say we can’t do nuclear. It says the process was flawed, so we need to look at it … We will definitely be transparent in the process,” the minister said. Kubayi acknowledged that there were problems in the energy department, where there were 96 vacant posts, most of them technical positions. “We are not functioning optimally as a department and need to up our game.”

There were also problems with PetroSA, which needed a “strengthened governance model”, as did Nersa. “I used to think the post office was a problem until I came here,” she said.

The minister told the committee that an investigation had revealed that oil reserves had been sold by the Strategic Fuel Fund in 2015, and were not part of a stock rotation, which had been claimed earlier. “We must preserve state assets and we must be accountable and transparent. We can’t have a situation where wrong things are happening and there are no consequences,” Kubayi said.

Liz McDaid, spokesman for SA Faith Communities Environment Institute, one of the organisations that took the nuclear deal to court, said yesterday she welcomed the minister’s commitment to strengthening Nersa and contributing to its independence. “Nersa was definitely found wanting in the court case. Let’s see if she can deliver on her promises,” McDaid said.

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South Africa: Energy Minister Says Government May Appeal Nuclear Judgment

Photo: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

South Africans protest (file photo).

By Melanie Gosling

New energy minister Mmamoloko Kubayi may appeal last week’s court judgement which found the government’s proposed nuclear expansion programme was unlawful. Kubayi told Pariament’s Energy Portfolio Committee today she was to meet her legal team to decide whether to appeal the ruling by the Western Cape High Court or to seek a declaratory order.

The minister conceded that there had been “issues around public participation” concerning the proposed nuclear programme. If necessary she would hold public hearings on the nuclear proposal. The legal advisors were also looking at whether new nuclear agreements had to be signed with nuclear vendor countries, or whether the existing agreements could be tabled in Parliament again.

The court scrapped the nuclear agreements with Russia, the US and South Korea as it found the agreements had been tabled in a manner which circumvented Parliamentary approval and public scrutiny. This was unlawful and unconstitutional.

“The judgement doesn’t say we can’t do nuclear. It says the process was flawed, so we need to look at it … We will definitely be transparent in the process,” the minister said. Kubayi acknowledged that there were problems in the energy department, where there were 96 vacant posts, most of them technical positions. “We are not functioning optimally as a department and need to up our game.”

There were also problems with PetroSA, which needed a “strengthened governance model”, as did Nersa. “I used to think the post office was a problem until I came here,” she said.

The minister told the committee that an investigation had revealed that oil reserves had been sold by the Strategic Fuel Fund in 2015, and were not part of a stock rotation, which had been claimed earlier. “We must preserve state assets and we must be accountable and transparent. We can’t have a situation where wrong things are happening and there are no consequences,” Kubayi said.

Liz McDaid, spokesman for SA Faith Communities Environment Institute, one of the organisations that took the nuclear deal to court, said yesterday she welcomed the minister’s commitment to strengthening Nersa and contributing to its independence. “Nersa was definitely found wanting in the court case. Let’s see if she can deliver on her promises,” McDaid said.

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South Africa: Nuclear Deal – Court Puts the Brakes On Deal

RESOURCE: Court Sets Aside South African Govt’s Huge Nuclear Dealanalysis

The Western Cape High Court’s ruling on Wednesday that the nuclear procurement process has been unlawful and unconstitutional won’t necessarily scupper government’s plans to expand nuclear energy. It means the procurement process will have to begin with a clean slate. By GREG NICOLSON.

Judge Lee Bozalek ruled in favour of applicants Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (Safcei) on Wednesday, significantly derailing current attempts to proceed with the construction of 9,600 MW in nuclear plants and issue binding proposal requests in June.

Bozalek said the state’s section 34 determinations, allowing it to procure nuclear power, are “unlawful and unconstitutional” and must be set aside. Any steps taken since the 2013 and 2016 determinations must also be set aside. The court also found that the inter-governmental agreements reached with Russia, the United States and Korea regarding the deals were also unlawful and unconstitutional and should be set aside. The energy minister was ordered to pay the applicants’ legal costs.

Safcei and Earthlife argued that any future nuclear procurement attempts from the energy minister should be subject to a public participation process, which Bozalek did not order. He did, however, go into detail about the requirements for the…

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