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Tuesday, 23 September 2014 13:14

SA, Russia Sign Strategic Nuclear Energy Pact

VIENNA, Austria, Sept 23, 2014 (SA News) -- South Africa has signed an Intergovernmental Agreement on Strategic Partnership and Cooperation in Nuclear Energy and Industry with Russia.

The agreement lays the foundation for the large-scale nuclear power plants (NPP) procurement and development programme of South Africa. This will be based on the construction of new nuclear power plants in SA with Russian VVER reactors, with total installed capacity of up to 9.6 GW (up to 8 NPP units).


These will be the first NPPs based on the Russian technology to be built on the African continent. Besides the actual joint construction of NPPs, the agreement also provides for comprehensive collaboration in other areas of the nuclear power industry.


These include construction of a Russian-technology based multipurpose research reactor, assistance in the development of South-African nuclear infrastructure and educating South African nuclear specialists in Russian universities.


This joint implementation implies a broad localization of equipment for the new NPPs, which will provide for brand-new development of various areas of South-African high-tech industries and will also contribute to the creation of a new highly skilled workforce and will allow South-African companies to further participate in Rosatom's projects in third world countries.


The partnership was signed by the Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson and the Director General of State Corporation, Rosatom, Sergey Kirienko in Vienna on the margins of the 58th session of the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference.


Minister Joemat-Pettersson said nuclear power is an important driver for national economy growth. The cooperation, she said, will also allow South Africa to implement the plans for the creation of 9.6 GW of new nuclear capacities, based on modern and safe technologies, by 2030.


"This agreement opens up the door for South Africa to access Russian technologies, funding, infrastructure, and provides a proper and solid platform for future extensive collaboration," she said after signing the agreement.


Kirienko said South Africa will gain all the necessary competencies for the implementation of this large-scale national nuclear energy.


He said Rosatom seeks to create in South Africa a full-scale nuclear cluster of a world leader's level - from the front-end of nuclear fuel cycle, up to engineering and power equipment manufacturing.


"In future, this will allow implementation of joint nuclear power projects in Africa and third world countries. But from the very start, this cooperation will be [aimed] at providing the conditions for the creation of thousands of new jobs and placing of a considerable order to local industrial enterprises worth at least US $10 billion," Kirienko said.


Minister Joemat-Pettersson is leading a South African delegation to the 58th general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is discussing the status of nuclear power and technologies in the world and matters related to nuclear safety, nuclear security and technical co-operation.


The IAEA's latest report on the status of nuclear power will be presented at the conference.


According to the report, there were 435 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries, and 72 reactors were under construction in 15 countries.


The report noted South Africa was one of four countries currently planning to build new nuclear power plants. Others were the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada and Iran.


Minister Joemat-Pettersson also addressed the conference on Monday, where she highlighted developments in the nuclear sector in South Africa and its experience using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.


"It is vitally important that we make nuclear power as safe as possible, as we continue to rely on it as part of our energy mix," she said in her address.


In this regard, she said South Africa welcomes the agency's continued efforts to strengthen the global nuclear safety framework and the support it provides to nuclear safety infrastructure development in member states that are introducing nuclear power or expanding their existing programmes. (Source: SA News)



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