January 21, 2020 / 3:06 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa appoints new board at state nuclear firm

(Adds detail, context)

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 21 (Reuters) - South Africa’s energy minister Gwede Mantashe has appointed seven board members at state nuclear firm Necsa, Mantashe’s ministry said on Tuesday.

Necsa is one of the world’s largest producers of medical radioisotopes and promotes research and development in nuclear energy.

It has been mired in a financial and operational crisis, like other South African state-run firms including power utility Eskom, but is much less of a burden on the country’s stretched public finances due to its smaller size.

The appointments follow the resignation last week of Necsa’s remaining board members.

Local media have cited disagreements with Mantashe over how to revive the company as the cause of the resignations, although his ministry has not given a reason for them.

Eskom’s former chief nuclear officer David Nicholls will chair the new Necsa board.

Mantashe also appointed a representative of the mineral resources and energy ministry to the Necsa board and has started a process to appoint a representative of the foreign ministry as a board member, as required by law. (Reporting by Alexander Winning; editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Mark Potter)

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