SA and Russia sign nuclear agreement

Russia and South Africa have signed an intergovernmental agreement on strategic partnership in nuclear energy sector opening the possibility of construction of nuclear reactors in the country using Russian technologies, state nuclear corporation Rosatom said Monday.

“The agreement creates a basis for the development of South Africa’s program on construction of nuclear power plants equipped with Russian VVER-type reactors with total generating capacity of up to 9.6 GWt (up to eight units),” a Rosatom spokesman told RIA Novosti.

“Those would be the first nuclear power plants on the African continent using Russian technology,” the official said.

South Africa currently has two nuclear reactors generating 5 percent of its electricity.

Russia will supply eight nuclear power units to South Africa until 2023 under the agreement signed in Vienna on Monday.

These will be the first nuclear power plants using Russian technology in Africa, with a combined capacity of 9.6 gigawatts.

“Rosatom is ready to assist South Africa in creating a world-class industrial cluster from the initial stage of the nuclear fuel cycle to engineering and production of equipment,” Rosatom Head Sergei Kiriyenko said at the signing ceremony held on the sidelines of the 58th session of the U.N. General Assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

He said this would allow Russia and South Africa to carry out joint projects in third countries in the future. The project will also create thousands of new jobs and generate local contracts worth up to $10 billion.

Kiriyenko earlier evaluated the project at$40 billion to $50 billion.

Russia is also ready to provide a low-interest loan for the project.

Experts say that it will allow South Africa to build its own nuclear power industry, achieve 40%-60% localisation, create about 30,000 new jobs and bring in $16 billion in investment as well as $5 billion worth of budget revenue.

The South African government has determined three sites for building new nuclear power plants.

Source: RIA Novosti/ItarTASS