Energy Minister checks on developments at Necsa

Friday, February 23, 2018

Energy Minister David Mahlobo has visited the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) to check on developments around the NTP Radiochemical Facility.

Minister Mahlobo and Deputy Minister Thembisile Majola visited the Necsa premises in Phelindaba, Tshwane, on Thursday, ahead of the return to service of the hydrogen monitoring system.

“Minister Mahlobo and Deputy Minister on Thursday visited the facility to satisfy themselves regarding the progress made for the NTP Radiochemical production facility to return to service this week,” said the Department of Energy.

Minister Mahlobo received a briefing on the developments with regards to significant issues dealt with, since the temporary closure of the facility last year.  The NTP facility is among a few global suppliers of radioisotopes used for both industrial and medical purposes. 

In December 2017, the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) instructed the State-owned company to shut down production at the facility as safety procedures had been violated. This was due to non-compliance to regulatory requirements; however the matter has since been attended to and fixed by the company.

“The shutdown necessitated Minister Mahlobo to visit Necsa to satisfy himself on the problems and challenges by the shutdown of Cell19 and Cell20. At the meeting management promised the Minister that there were problems which they were already working on as they had lost production and trust of their clients. Necsa worked closely with the Regulator to fix the none-compliant matters,” said the department.

In turn Necsa -- which is responsible for undertaking and promoting Research and Development (R&D) in the field of nuclear energy and radiation sciences -- have given the Minister assurance that all is being done for the utility to remain as one of the top global suppliers of nuclear medicine.

This as the NNR gave Necsa a conditional return to production to service of which the results will be sent weekly to NNR.

The Minister was also given an update on the issue of the of the management team that has been placed on special leave.

“The NTP board gave assurance to the Minister that the investigations were completed. Minister Mahlobo requested that the matter be speedily resolved and further instructed that the board meet and finalise the issue after which a report will be sent to Minister Mahlobo within a week,” said the department.

Earlier this month, Necsa announced that it was working with the NNR to resolve issues related to the NTP Radiochemical Facility. - SAnews.gov.za

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