Putin offers help to South African nuclear industry

Russia is offering to help South Africa to develop its own nuclear industry from resource production to power plant design and manufacture, Vladimir Putin has told South African president Jacob Zuma.

Putin and Zuma (Presidential Press Office__460
Putin and Zuma meet in Durban (Image: Presidential Press & Information Office)


Putin's remarks were made during bilateral talks held by the two leaders in advance of the two-day BRICS summit of the leading emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) held in Durban. The two leaders signed a joint declaration of a strategic partnership between the two countries, and witnessed the signing of a package of bilateral documents on cooperation in various fields, including a cooperation agreement on energy.


"We have enormous potential for developing cooperation in the energy sector, first and foremost in nuclear energy," Putin told the press after the talks. He said that Russia was offering help to South Africa not just in building individual nuclear units using "cutting-edge technology" but also in developing the country’s nuclear industry as a whole, from resource production, through the construction of nuclear power plants and research reactors, to designing and manufacturing South Africa's own nuclear power equipment. "Naturally, all this involves credit assistance from the Russian side and training of specialists," he added.


Putin's promise comes days after South African vice president Kgalema Motlanthe spoke of South Africa's needs to develop a comprehensive nuclear program in a keynote speech to to the Nuclear Africa 2013 conference. Motlanthe described nuclear power as ideal for South Africa, providing the capability to spread large-scale electricity production around the country: at present, most of South Africa's coal-fired generation capacity is clustered in the north-eastern part of the country, necessitating long-distance transmission. "It has become crystal clear that coal is not the long-term solution for our energy needs," he said. South Africa must aim to become "globally competitive" in designing, manufacturing and deploying state-of-the-art nuclear energy systems, the vice-president noted.


South Africa has two 900 MWe nuclear reactors at Koeberg, currently producing around 5% of its electricity. Government plans foresee at least 9600 MWe of new nuclear capacity by 2030.



Researched and written by World Nuclear News