After three years of silence, the Nuclear-1 Environmental Impact Assessment process was revived by an invitation for “supplemental submissions”, as described in Nuclear-1 EIA revived with ‘Supplemental Submissions’. The invitation specified a condition that supplemental submissions may only be made by those who had submitted a formal appeal in 2017. We wrote to the department and objected to this condition as follows:
Given the unusually lengthy period that this appeal RoD has been pending, many people may be affected by this decision now who were not in 2017. For example, people who moved into an affected area over the last three years, or people who became adults in that period. It seems unfair to deprive those people of the opportunity to engage with this process, through no fault of their own.
In response, the Department was adamant:
Please note that only those who appealed this authorisation, during the appeal period as prescribed by legislation will be allowed a further opportunity to comment …
Finally we wrote back:
Please be advised that should the positive RoD [Record of Decision] be upheld, this process may be subject to a legal challenge, due to delays from your department in processing the appeal.
This was most likely put before the departmental lawyers, who replied (as lawyers often do to complex questions) with a ‘maybe’, and in October 2020 we received a formal letter from the department:
4.2 In evaluating the aforementioned requests for extension of time frames by the Appellants and the request by Mr Becker and taking into consideration the aforementioned legal provisions …
4.3 Having duly considered the reasons advanced by the Appellants in their request for extension of timeframes to submit the supplementary submissions and/or appeal as well as responses thereto by the Applicant, I am accordingly persuaded that the aforementioned request for extension and “new submissions” limited to the issued of the IRP 2019 should be granted…“
This means that anyone may now object to the granting of permission to build a new nuclear plant on the Koeberg and/or Thyspunt sites, by 15 November 2020. Objections must however relate to information released in the Integrated Resource Plan of 2019 (IRP 2019). This is because the RoD was based on a report which explicitly and repeatedly linked the need for the new nuclear build to the requirements of the now superseded IRP 2010.
Here is the full response from the department