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Outa concerned about suspension of civil society representative by Nuclear Regulatory Board

Outa released a statement expressing concern over the suspension of Peter Becker from the board of the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR). Becker, from Koeberg Alert Alliance (KAA), represents civil society on the NNR board.

The NNR is responsible for authorizing the extension of the life of the Koeberg nuclear power plant. Koeberg is due by law to close in 2024, but Eskom has asked the NNR for permission to extend its life by 20 years by undertaking renovations and upgrades.

According to Outa, neither Eskom nor the NNR have been transparent about the life extension, which is estimated to cost at least R20 billion.

Becker ‘expelled from board meeting’

KAA reported that Becker was blocked from a board meeting on Monday, Jan. 17, and was initially denied an explanation. On Tuesday, he received a formal letter of suspension from Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, citing allegations of misconduct from October 2021, to which the minister claimed Becker had failed to respond.

According to Becker’s lawyers, he had responded.

On Tuesday, NNR’s board of directors officially authorized Eskom to proceed with the replacement of three steam generators at Koeberg.

Outa alleges Becker’s suspension may have been “timed to block him from Monday’s board meeting and other such meetings on Koeberg’s extension.”

“The decision to replace the steam generators is a crucial part of the expansion,” Outa said.

The organization has since written to Mantashe, urging him to reinstate Becker without further delay.

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