Government concludes nuclear workshop

FILE PICTURE: Power station. Picture: AFP

FILE PICTURE: Power station. Picture: AFP

A nuclear vendor workshop between government and four countries has been concluded, the energy department said on Wednesday.

“The vendor countries, China, France, South Korea, and the USA, sought to showcase and demonstrate their countries’ capabilities,” the department said in a statement.

“That is how, if chosen, they plan to meet South Africa’s needs in the implementation of the required 9600MW (9.6GW) nuclear power capacity.”

The week-long workshop, which was held in the Drakensberg, ended on Tuesday.

The countries made presentations on their offerings, including in areas such as conversion, enrichment, fuel fabrication, localisation and industrialisation, power generation, safety and licensing, job creation, research and development, skills transfer, and development, the department said.

“Going forward, government will design and launch a procurement process.

“The vendor parades have been a great success, with South African participants able to engage in robust and open technical discussions with the vendors as well as among themselves.”

Controversy arose when it was revealed that a R1 trillion nuclear agreement between South Africa and Russia had been signed.

On September 22, the department and Rosatom issued separate but identical statements that South Africa and Russia had struck a “deal” for the construction of up to eight nuclear power plants.

On September 26, the Mail&Guardian reported that President Jacob Zuma took control of a deal with Russia for that country to supply nuclear plants to South Africa.

The newspaper claimed Zuma negotiated directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin and instructed Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to sign the deal.

In October, government said there had been no agreement entered into with Russia for the construction of nuclear power plants. There was only a co-operation agreement.

The presidency later refuted claims that Zuma had acted alone in securing an agreement and instructed Joemat-Pettersson to sign off on it.

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