South Africa is pursuing a diversified energy mix which includes both independent power producers (IPPs) and nuclear power in support of the government’s programme of economic growth and development, says Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

“We must emphasise that there is no ‘nuclear deal’. We remain firmly committed to an above board, fair and transparent procurement process with due regard to the scale, pace and price of the programme,” said the Minister in a statement.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) to Parliament earlier in the year, President Jacob Zuma said South Africa plans to introduce 9,600 megawatts of nuclear energy in the next decade, in addition to running the already operational Koeberg nuclear power plant in Western Cape Province.

On Wednesday, the Minister emphasised that the Department of Energy functioned within the policy framework of the government, and the programmes implemented by the department would seek to respond to that.

“All programmes and interventions by the DoE are premised on approved government decisions as outlined in Energy Policy and the Cabinet-approved Integrated Resource Plan. These include work on all energy sources such as renewable energy, coal, gas and nuclear,” she said.

Ministers and officials within departments do not operate or work outside the framework of agreed government policy, she stressed.

“We further wish to reiterate that we implement programmes in compliance with the relevant guidelines and legislation, as demonstrated by our highly successfully Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme,” she said.

“There will shortly be announcements on the expedited round for Renewable Energy projects as well as Requests For Proposals (RFP) for the coal and gas IPP projects.”

The RFP, in line with a Cabinet decision of Dec 9, 2015, for the Nuclear New Build Programme will also be released in compliance with the approved Cabinet directive. “The Ministry of Energy will not be distracted from its mandate and responsibilities to ensure and maintain security of energy supply,” she added.