(AGI) - Cape Town, Aug 18 - South Africa's Department of Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has announced that the country will shortly call for requests for proposals for the country's new nuclear energy build programme. In his State of the Nation Address earlier this year, South African President Jacob Zuma said the country plans to introduce 9 600 megawatts of nuclear energy in the next decade, in addition to the Koeberg nuclear power plant near Cape Town in the Western Cape province. In a statement on Wednesday, Joemat-Pettersson reiterated that there is currently no "nuclear deal" on the table, in an apparent response to rumours that the government had already signed a secret nuclear deal with Russia. "Again 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. However, she neglected to say when requests for proposals will be allowed. "All programmes and interventions by the Department of Energy are premised on approved government decisions. These include work on all energy sources such as renewable energy, coal, gas and nuclear," she said. "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 (REIPPP)." The Department of Energy launched the REIPPP in 2011, which called for 3 725 megawatt of renewable energy technologies to be generated to ensure continued uninterrupted supply of energy in South Africa. In terms of the programme, bidders will be required to bid on tariff and the identified socio-economic development objectives of the Department of Energy. She said government will also shortly make announcements on the expedited round for renewable energy projects, as well as requests for proposals for coal and gas independent power producer projects. Joemat-Pettersson reiterated that South Africa will continue to pursue a diversified energy mix that includes both independent power producers and nuclear energy as this will facilitate economic growth and development in the country. "The Ministry of Energy will not be distracted from its mandate and responsibilities to ensure and maintain security of energy supply," the Minister said. (AGI) .