THE 80-page medium-term budget policy statement mentions the word nuclear only once and that is to refer to the shifting of a small amount of money into the programme to deal with the management of nuclear waste. This Department of Energy programme was supposed to establish a National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute more than two years ago to deal with nuclear waste but due to budgetary constraints, this had not been done. But the big nuclear issue — the building of a fleet of nuclear power stations — did not get a mention. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan raised it once only to say that "it is now confirmed that Eskom will take the lead in the nuclear power initiative". Energy issues — both nuclear and the future of the renewable energy independent power producer programme — were, however, the biggest topic in questions to Gordhan from journalists at the budget briefing. Before the decision by the Cabinet earlier this week that Eskom will lead procurement, the company’s head of...

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