Rus­sia pitches nu­clear deal in the Drak­ens­berg

CityPress - - Business -

The depart­ment of en­ergy has kicked off the “ven­dor pa­rade” work­shops it said it would hold with coun­tries vy­ing for the nu­clear con­tracts with Rus­sia this week.

The Wit­ness re­ported that 20 of Vladimir Putin’s top nu­clear ex­perts pitched for South Africa’s big­gest deal — with an es­ti­mated R1 tril­lion price tag — at a se­cret meet­ing in the Drak­ens­berg.

The Wit­ness said 50 South African ex­perts — in­clud­ing its nu­clear chief, Ziza­mele Mbambo — grilled of­fi­cials from Rus­sia’s state atomic en­ergy company, Rosatom, at a se­cre­tive four-day con­fer­ence at the Cham­pagne Sports Re­sort.

Ac­cord­ing to The Wit­ness, of­fi­cials ini­tially de­nied that Rosatom was present, and the se­crecy blan­ket in­cluded the omis­sion of the company’s name from all work­shop ma­te­ri­als.

Rosatom of­fi­cials pitched eight of their “VVER” pres­surised wa­ter re­ac­tors for South Africa’s nu­clear build pro­gramme, which plans to add 9 600 megawatts to the grid by 2030.

The Rus­sians were given the op­por­tu­nity to present the first work­shop in which to “pa­rade” their of­fer­ing and France and China are set to follow later.

The DA last week al­leged that the se­cre­tive work­shops with var­i­ous coun­tries were “win­dow dress­ing”, and that “all ev­i­dence points to a done deal with the Rus­sians”, The Wit­ness said.

En­ergy Min­is­ter Tina Joe­mat-Pet­ters­son re­cently signed a con­tro­ver­sial co-op­er­a­tion agree­ment for the pro­cure­ment of VVER re­ac­tors with a to­tal in­stalled ca­pac­ity of up to 9.6 gi­gawatts.

This was fol­lowed by an agree­ment with France last week.

Last Satur­day, the depart­ment said it would hold work­shops with all ven­dor coun­tries which had agreed to par­tic­i­pate, where they could showcase their nu­clear tech­nol­ogy and demon­strate how they planned to meet South Africa’s needs if se­lected as the suc­cess­ful bid­der.

– The Wit­ness and staff re­porter

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