South Africa: Energy Minister Boots Out Nuclear Plant Civil Society Board Member

  • South Afric’s National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) is tasked with protecting the public and the environment from radiation.
  • The NNR Act of 1999 requires that the Board of the NNR includes a person representing civil society.
  • Peter Becker of the Koeberg Alert Alliance was appointed to the Board to fulfil this role.

Currently, there is a lot of attention on the work being done at Koeberg which requires prior approval from the NNR. There are meetings of the Board this week where technical aspects of these matters will be discussed and decided on.

Related news: Life extension programme at Koeberg Nuclear Plant poses significant risk 

On Monday 17 January Becker was refused access to the agenda and document packs for these meetings by the Board secretary, and his access to the online document portal has been revoked. He wrote to the Board chair asking for a reason, but to date no response has been received. He also was not invited to the online meetings.

Related news: JACOBS chosen for R20 billion life extension programme at Koeberg Nuclear Plant

South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Mr Gwede Mantashe,  has taken matters one step further by formally suspending Becker with immediate effect citing misconduct and a conflict of interest.

Becker strenuously denies all the allegations of ‘misconduct’ and ‘conflict of interest’ which have been made against him and hopes to challenge this decision and have it reversed.

Related news: South Africa’s nuclear legacy calls for a strong regulator and transparency

The NNR is currently pressing forward with deliberating on what approvals to grant the Koeberg Nuclear plant at a critical time when work is about to start to extend its lifetime by twenty years. This is precisely the time when it would be in the public interest to have someone with Becker’s expertise involved in oversight of NNR processes argues the Koeberg Alert Alliance.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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