S. A Nuclear Power Deal with Russia

South African government officials said on Tuesday that the South Africa’s nuclear cooperation deal signed this week with Russia is part of a tender process that will involve other competing countries and is not a contract to build power plants.

The Russian atomic agency Rosatom issued a statement on Monday saying that it had signed a $10 billion deal with Pretoria for the installation of 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2030, to help Africa’s most advanced economy cope with chronic electricity shortages.

However, South African government officials involved said the agreement was still in early stages.

Xolisa Mabhongo, an executive at South African state agency Nuclear Energy Corporation said, “There will be a South African procurement process of course. There will be other inter-government agreements signed.”

There would be a bidding process before any final contracts were signed, Mabhongo said from Vienna, where the agreement was signed.

“They jumped the gun,” a senior South African government source, who is part of the country’s delegation to an International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna, told reporters.

“These kinds of inter-governmental agreements are standard with nuclear vendor countries. We foresee that similar agreements will be signed with other nuclear vendor countries, France, China, Korea, the U.S. and Japan.”

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