With the deadline for public comment on the controversial nuclear procurement only hours away, 17 000 submissions had already been received, rights activist group Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said yesterday.
Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenhage called for public input after power utility Eskom “surreptitiously slipped” a critical gazette regarding nuclear procurement under the public participation radar.
Duvenhage said this would have enabled Eskom to acquire licences to build two nuclear plants without proper public scrutiny. Outa said in light of the various glaring errors and omissions in the gazette, Eskom had a specific future legal responsibility towards those who have commented on this gazette.
This meant that every person who commented on the gazette was, by law, an interested and affected party, and Eskom was required to inform them specifically and individually of the placement of the new notice, should a new notice be published.
“With over 17 000 submissions thus far, this high volume of public submissions indicates a growing active citizenry on the nuclear issue, one which the regulator and government as a whole cannot ignore,” said Duvenhage.
Having noticed that Eskom had decided to advertise the location of a nuclear energy reactor site, which was a national issue, in a regional,
instead of national gazette, Outa decided to intervene.
Outa listed additional concerns related to the gazettes, which seek to approve the build of nuclear sites at Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape, and Duynefontein in the Western Cape.
Some of the concerns included what type of nuclear reactors would be installed and the impact of the reactors on the environment.