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CityPress - - Business - YOLANDI GROE­NEWALD busi­ness@city­press.co.za

wo new Rus­sian nu­clear agree­ments signed at the Brics sum­mit this week strength­ened Rus­sia’s hand as South Africa pre­pares to fi­nalise its con­tro­ver­sial new nu­clear pro­gramme at the end of the month.

Rus­sia’s nu­clear util­ity Rosatom and South Africa’s depart­ment of energy signed two mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing on Wed­nes­day, out­lin­ing plans to train nu­clear per­son­nel in South Africa and pro­mote nu­clear energy use among South Africans.

The latest set of agree­ments will com­pli­cate life for any of the bid­ders who par­tic­i­pated in the ven­dor pa­rade over the past cou­ple of months.

Rosatom didn’t want to be drawn on whether it was South Africa’s favourite.

“Rosatom, as other par­tic­i­pants of the pre-pro­cure­ment process, took part in the ven­dor pa­rade. We await the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion in this re­gard,” a spokesper­son for the com­pany told City Press.

“We be­lieve that our un­matched ex­per­tise sets us apart.”

South Africa wishes to add at least eight nu­clear re­ac­tors gen­er­at­ing 9 600MW to its grid. The av­er­age amount of time it takes to con­struct a nu­clear power sta­tion is 10 years.

The gov­ern­ment hopes the first re­ac­tor will start gen­er­at­ing power from 2023, and that the new fleet will be com­plete by 2029. The cost of the pro­gramme is likely to ex­ceed R1 tril­lion.

Rus­sian news agency Tass re­ported that Rosatom promised at the sum­mit that lo­cal pro­duc­tion in South Africa could ac­count for 40% to 60% of goods needed to build the power sta­tions, help­ing to cre­ate about 30 000 jobs. This could bring South Africa about R198 bil­lion at the stage of con­struc­tion alone, and another R61.9 bil­lion in rev­enues for the coun­try’s bud­get.

Rosatom head Sergey Kiriyenko ear­lier told Tass that he es­ti­mated the con­struc­tion of eight re­ac­tors would cost R500 bil­lion and the pro­gramme of cre­at­ing the en­tire nu­clear power in­fra­struc­ture in South Africa would cost R1.2 tril­lion.

A ri­val ven­dor de­scribed the flood of agree­ments be­tween South African and Rus­sia as dis­heart­en­ing, but was not will­ing to give up hope just yet.

Last month, the energy depart­ment sub­mit­ted all five in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal nu­clear co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments to Par­lia­ment af­ter Cab­i­net had dis­cussed the doc­u­ments. The depart­ment also an­nounced it wanted to ini­ti­ate the ten­der no later than this month and make a fi­nal de­ci­sion about the cho­sen ven­dor early next year.

While the depart­ment of energy has not pub­licly com­mit­ted South Africa to a gov­ern­ment-to-gov­ern­ment pro­cure­ment process, of­fi­cials in­side the depart­ment are openly favour­ing the model.

France, China, the US and South Korea all have in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agree­ments with South Africa now, but not one of them is as de­tailed as the agree­ment with Rus­sia.

Energy Min­is­ter Tina Joe­mat-Pet­ters­son signed the agree­ment in Vi­enna on Septem­ber 21 last year, af­ter sev­eral meet­ings be­tween Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and Rus­sia’s Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

That agree­ment com­prises quite spe­cific de­tails and clauses that an­a­lysts have de­scribed as favour­ing Rus­sia and Rosatom.

It grants Rus­sia a num­ber of reg­u­la­tory con­ces­sions and favourable tax and other fi­nan­cial treat­ment, and ex­cludes other coun­tries from do­ing nu­clear busi­ness with South Africa with­out Rus­sia’s per­mis­sion.

The agree­ment also in­dem­ni­fies the Rus­sians from any li­a­bil­ity aris­ing from nu­clear ac­ci­dents dur­ing the re­ac­tors’ life. Fur­ther­more, the agree­ment is bind­ing for 20 years once in force.

This week’s first agree­ment de­tails how Rus­sia will train spe­cial­ists for South Africa, in­clud­ing nu­clear power plant per­son­nel, en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion per­son­nel, and spe­cial­ists for the nonen­ergy sec­tor and nu­clear in­fra­struc­ture mar­ket.

“Both par­ties will strive to re­alise ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes for 200 South African can­di­dates at Rus­sian univer­si­ties and ed­u­ca­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions,” the energy depart­ment said.

Rosatom has al­ready signed a mem­o­ran­dum with North-West Univer­sity, the only univer­sity in South Africa cur­rently train­ing nu­clear spe­cial­ists. The agree­ment pro­vides for joint pro­grammes, such as co­op­er­a­tion in re­search, ex­change of spe­cial­ists, joint sem­i­nars, co­op­er­a­tion in pub­li­ca­tion of text­books and train­ing of spe­cial­ists.

The sec­ond agree­ment de­tails an in­for­ma­tion cam­paign that will see Rus­sia play a cen­tral role in pop­u­lar­is­ing nu­clear power en­gi­neer­ing and tech­nol­ogy in South Africa.

Plans in­clude an in­for­ma­tion cen­tre and sev­eral jointly

The high-wa­ter mark for China’s main stock in­dex, the Shang­hai Com­pos­ite

In­dex, on June 12 The value of China’s stock mar­ket at that high point The level to which the Shang­hai Com­pos­ite crashed by July 3 – a 30%

drop in two weeks The value that was wiped

out dur­ing the crash The num­ber of com­pa­nies listed on China’s two ma­jor stock ex­changes, Shang­hai and

Shen­zhen

Les­lie Maas­dorp

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