SA to sign more nuclear pacts

By Time of article published Oct 1, 2014

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Johannesburg - South Africa said it plans to sign framework agreements with more countries before it decides on how to procure as many as 9,600 megawatts of nuclear energy.

Russia’s state-owned Rosatom and the Department of Energy on September 22 announced a partnership, saying they had reached an intergovernmental accord that laid the foundation for ordering as many as eight Russian VVER reactors that use pressurised water.

South Africa will sign a framework with France later this month, and plans accords with China and Japan, Wolsey Barnard, a director general at the department, told reporters today in Pretoria, the capital.

South Africa “will sign framework agreements with several countries with capability and compatibility of pressurised water reactors before making a decision on which country to use for the nuclear program,” the department said in a statement handed to reporters.

The pact with Russia was the first, it said.

The National Treasury said in February 2013 that a 300 billion-rand nuclear program was in the final stages of study.

South Africa’s integrated resources plan envisions more nuclear energy being added to the grid to help reduce reliance on coal and meet demand.

The country, which currently gets 5 percent of its power from nuclear, has yet to decide on the technology to employ and the procurement procedure it will use, said Zizamele Mbambo, the deputy director-general for nuclear in the department.

Areva, Electricite de France, Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding and Korea Electric Power have expressed interest in building the plants.

South Africa also has a draft nuclear cooperation pact with China.

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said in the announcement last week that the agreement with Russia would allow the country to implement its plan to create more nuclear capacity by 2030. - Bloomberg News

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