S. Africa opposition 'concerned' by nuclear deal with Russia

Russia’s state atomic Energy corporation Rosatom said Monday that Russia and South Africa had signed an agreement on strategic partnership in nuclear energy on the sidelines of the 58th session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.

S. Africa opposition 'concerned' by nuclear deal with Russia

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Africa's main opposition party has called on the government to release details of a nuclear power deal signed with Russia's state atomic energy corporation.

"We have serious concerns about this agreement," Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Energy Lance Greyling said in a press statement late Monday.

Russia’s state atomic Energy corporation Rosatom said Monday that Russia and South Africa had signed an agreement on strategic partnership in nuclear energy on the sidelines of the 58th session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.

"The Agreement lays the foundation for the large-scale nuclear power plant (NPP) procurement and development programme of South Africa based on the construction in RSA of new nuclear power plants with Russian VVER reactors with total installed capacity of up to 9,6 GW (up to 8 NPP units).” Rosatom said in a statement on its website.

According to the statement, the reactors will be the first to be built on the Russian technology in the African continent.

"Rosatom’s technology is reportedly also not the most advanced of the options on the table, and is therefore also not necessarily the most cost-effective," Greyling said.

He said questions around the cost per megawatt-hour of Rosatom’s reactors compared to the alternatives must be answered in great detail.

He also noted that the nuclear deal with Russia may undermine South Africa’s bilateral commitments on nuclear energy with other nations and would limit the country’s ability to effectively negotiate and procure nuclear capacity from other nations.

During his state of the nation address in June, President Jacob Zuma said South Africa's government plans to use energy as a means to bolster its economic growth.

"We need to respond decisively to the country's energy constraints in order to create a conducive environment for growth," he said.

Zuma said the successful electrification programme which has changed lives of many households in the country was achieved by tapping into artificial electricity reserves, which had not been designed to cater for mass energy distribution.

"This situation calls for a radical transformation of the energy sector, to develop a sustainable energy mix that comprises coal, solar, wind, hydro, gas and nuclear energy.” Zuma said.

South Africa mainly depends on coal for its electricity production.

During the heavy rains early this year, electricity provider Eskom was forced to conduct load shedding in some areas as a result of wet coal which reduces power station out.

Last Mod: 23 Eylül 2014, 11:18
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