South Africa and Russia Sign Multi-Billion Rand Nuclear Reactor Deal

By Martin Kinyaha

South Africa has signed a strategic partnership deal with Russia to get up to eight nuclear reactors built with Russian technology.

In a statement made by South Africa’s energy ministry it was revealed the deal was signed on Monday by Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the South African energy minister and Sergey Kirienko, director general of Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear company.

According to the South African energy ministry statement, the project is due for completion by 2030. However a report released by Sowetan said the Russian atomic energy agency expected the eight nuclear reactors to be online by 2023.

According to the Itar-Tass news agency, Kirienko estimated the value of the deal at between R445 to R555 billion, given that one reactor costs around R55 billion.

Rosatom will create thousands of jobs in South Africa as part of the deal that will be worth “at least $10 billion dollars [R111 billion]” to local industry, Kirienko said in a statement.

Joemat-Pettersson said South Africa considers nuclear power “an important driver for the national economic growth.”

“I am sure that co-operation with Russia will allow us to implement our ambitious plans for the creation by 2030 of 9.6 GW of new nuclear capacities based on modern and safe technologies,” she continued.

The partnership agreement, signed in Vienna on the margins of the International Atomic Energy Agency conference, also calls for Russia to help build infrastructure in South Africa and train African specialists at Russian universities.

South Africa already has two nuclear reactors that generate 6 percent of its electricity, according to the energy ministry. The country relies heavily on coal for its energy needs and its electrical grid is under severe strain.

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