Koeberg power station, which has a great role to play in the South African economy going forward. Photo: Bruce Sutherland

Johannesburg – The Western Cape High Court has found that SA’s nuclear deals with various countries, including Russia, are unlawful.

In a decision handed down on Wednesday, the court found that the country’s deals to add another 9.6MW of power – equivalent to ten nuclear stations – was not constitutional.

It also notes that Parliament has to approve any nuclear deal, and the Department of Energy has to determine SA’s nuclear needs.

The ruling nullifies cooperation agreements  SA has with the US, Russia and South Korea.

Under those agreements, potential nuclear vendors in those countries – such as Westinghouse in the US and Russian state-owned Rosatom – would assist to develop SA’s nuclear ambitions.

Rosatom is seen as a strong contender to secure a contract to build new nuclear reactors in South Africa.

Read also: Rosatom agrees on nuclear safety in newcomer countries

The contested nuclear build programme, which will be driven by Eskom, aims to add 9 600 megawatts of nuclear power to the national energy grid, though critics say the country does not need and cannot afford more nuclear reactors.

Eskom is expected to issue a request for binding proposals from potential vendors by the end of June.