South Africa seeks to appeal court ruling on nuclear deal

04 May 2017

South Africa’s Department of Energy may appeal the High Court’s judgment on the planned nuclear deal declaring the 2014 agreement with Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom for the construction of nuclear power plants unlawful and subject to cancellation.

The agreement provides for a strategic partnership for the development of the nuclear power industry of South Africa. It envisions not only the construction of nuclear power plants, but also development of various areas of nuclear industry in general, in particular construction of a multipurpose research reactor under the Russian technology and training of South African specialists in Russian universities.

The document aroused sharp criticism of the opposition in South Africa, which considered that it violated the national legislation, as it obliges the government to work exclusively with Rosatom without holding any tender, allegations which have since been denied by the Russian state nuclear corporation and South Africa’s Energy Department.

Last week, the High Court of South Africa’s province Western Cape ruled to cancel a 2014 intergovernmental agreement with Russia for the construction of eight nuclear reactors in that country.

Kelvin Kemm, chairperson of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa termed the move as an attempt of the anti-nuclear lobby to ruin the project. He however clarified that they would carry on cooperating with the Russian organizations.

Last week, Rosatom confirmed its plans to bid on construction of nuclear power plants in South Africa despite the decision of the country’s court to cancel the relevant intergovernmental agreement.

Viktor Polikarpov, Vice-President of Rosatom for Sub-Saharan Africa, clarified that the corporation Rosatom was responding to Eskom’s request to grant tender information for the construction of nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 9.6 GW.

Four companies from China (State Nuclear Power Technology), France (EDF), Russia (Rosatom) and the Republic of Korea (KEPCO) are main bidders for construction of the NPP in South Africa. South Africa’s energy monopoly Eskom is the project’s operator and owner of future nuclear power plants

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