SA signs nuclear deal with Russia

SA signs nuclear deal with Russia

2014-09-22 19:15

Cape Town - Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said nuclear is a key driver for economic growth after signing a deal for SA to get up to eight nuclear reactors from Russia.

She signed a nuclear power cooperation deal with Russia, said state nuclear firm Rosatom in a statement on Monday.

“South Africa today, as never before, is interested in the massive development of nuclear power, which is an important driver for the national economy growth," said Joemat-Pettersson.

She said the deal paves the way for the building of up to 9.6GW (8 NPP units) of nuclear power plants based on Russian technology by 2030.

"This agreement opens up the door for South Africa to access Russian technologies, funding, infrastructure, and provides proper and solid platform for future extensive collaboration."  

The delivery of the reactors will enable the start of the first nuclear plant based on Russian technology on the African continent.

"The signed agreement, besides the actual joint construction of NPPs, provides for comprehensive collaboration in other areas of nuclear power industry, including construction of a Russian-technology based multipurpose research reactor, assistance in the development of South-African nuclear infrastructure, education of South African nuclear specialists in Russian universities and other areas," said Rosatom in a statement.

Rosatom director general Sergey Kirienko said South Africa will get all the necessary competencies for the implementation, of what he called, "this large-scale national nuclear energy development programme".

Said Kirienko: "Rosatom seeks to create in South Africa a full-scale nuclear cluster of a world leader’s level – from the front-end of nuclear fuel cycle up to engineering and power equipment manufacturing."

He said the deal will create thousands of jobs and the placing of a significant order to local players worth at least $10bn.

Reuters reported that China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding, Toshiba and Korea Electric Power are among the companies that have been reported as showing interest in securing the nuclear deal.

SA is home to one nuclear power station that provides around 5% of the country's 42 000 MW of installed generating capacity. Nearly all the rest comes from coal.

However, in a national energy assessment in December, South Africa said it might delay the construction of nuclear power plants and focus instead on coal, hydro and gas as alternative energy sources.

The country has been struggling to keep the lights on due to its failure to invest in new power plants nearly two decades ago.

Eskom is scrambling to finish new power plants, including Medupi and Kusile, massive coal-fired outfits with a combined capacity of about 9 500 megawatts (MW) that are far from complete.

 - Fin24, Reuters

  • tess.boltar - 2014-09-22 19:19

    Another costly disaster.

      Made-In SA - 2014-09-22 19:41

      When do we see the missing R1,2 Billion spy satellite?

      Patricia Dewet - 2014-09-22 20:28

      Who is going to steal what.

      Thuto Moloi - 2014-09-22 22:49

      this is when i know we will never be together, even when its a good things it ends up been a bad thing.

      John Williamsii - 2014-09-23 08:57

      Weetabix as long as it is not 5 winky dinkies, then we will have a population explosion.

      Made-In SA - 2014-09-23 10:26

      Now we know why LazyJZ783 was recently in Russia.Without a single witness.Just him and Vlad Putin.

      Made-In SA - 2014-09-23 10:57

      @Samizdat.I read in this mornings paper that the Russians will build and pay for the construction.We then have to pay them back with income from electricity supplied to consumers.That means one thing.Massive electricity price increases.It is the same concept as e-tolls.We are fooked.

      Deepandsoulfulhouse DjVido Buka - 2014-09-23 12:23

      So Whats Next, Zuma buying Russian Aeroplanes for SAA?

      Rudi de Lange - 2014-09-23 15:00

      We've had a nuclear power plant for years and years and years. Has there ever been a disaster? The alternative is we can wait another 100 years for our government to eventually catch up to the power grid requirements using coal (which produces A LOT more pollution than nuclear (when disposed of properly)) where as with this we will have more electricity than we can use in 15 years time. Please learn to logic. We have to, at some point, catch up with the rest of the world.

      Rudi de Lange - 2014-09-23 15:02

      @Deepandsoulfulhouse DjVido Buka - They would be cheaper and MUCH better than Swedish ones, so why not?

      Puple LeMoo - 2014-09-23 18:57

      SA had an advanced Atomic Energy Programme and the current government destroyed it due to incompetence. Now it is pretending that it is a new idea. Ever heard of the National Atomic Energy Corporation? You know, the one with semi-closed research facilities outside of Pretoria?

  • Gary Guy - 2014-09-22 19:21

    OMG, now we know why JZ783 was in Russian recently. He must have been salivating at the thought of getting his mucky little trotters into that pie!

      Alan Scott - 2014-09-23 06:28

      Yes Gary, the arms deal all over again.

      James Bergwerff - 2014-09-23 12:33

      My thoughts exactly . It was very hush hush

      Konstabel Koekemoer - 2014-09-23 14:15

      ANC bidding process means the deal goes to the company that pays the biggest bribe to Zuma and co.

      Hugo Monterro - 2014-09-24 08:33


  • ivan.marsh.37 - 2014-09-22 19:23

    What does a clown like JP know about nuclear power. Russian nuclear technology is not up to western standards with reliability and safety being extremely suspect. JP you are playing with fire.

      Des Burman - 2014-09-22 19:33

      Agreed !! She could not manage a fishing boat

      Robbie Wiggett - 2014-09-22 20:09

      And what do you know about nuclear power, Ivan? Just because you've heard about Chernobyl you're a specialist? This is the best thing to happen to SA in a long time! Do some research before you throw false info around

      Phillip Michael Traut - 2014-09-22 20:49

      You people are like the Americans ignorant. Chernobyl is in Ukraine not Russia. Not one Russia reactor has given a problem. And if you up to date you would know they have invented a replacement for radio-active component recently.

      Hans de Waal - 2014-09-22 21:45

      SO Phillip. Please tell us what element has been used on the periodic table to replace Uranium or plutonium, maybe you are thinking of Carbon? That stuff is what fossil fuels consist of amongst other things and one cannot get too much energy from splitting those atoms!? If they could build safe nuclear arms don't you thin they would have done so by now and also applied this to nuclear energy. Maybe the planet you are from has a couple more elements in their periodic table. Please can you enlighten us normal plebs with your superior knowledge of nuclear physics? I for one can't wait to hear from you!

      Made-In SA - 2014-09-22 22:25

      @Traut,Ukraine was part of the USSR when Chernobyl exploded.USSR WAS DOMINATED BY RUSSIA.Please brush up on history before you make a fool of yourself.Ukraine was once an independent but was forcefully taken over by the USSR way back.

      ivan.marsh.37 - 2014-09-23 03:42

      Robbie, I didn't sign the deal and Spier "near" is a lot better than "actual".

      Andrew Mackie - 2014-09-23 10:40

      Traut, dont show your ignorance, Chenobyl was Russian built using Russian technology and using Russian management.

      Hugo Monterro - 2014-09-24 08:36


  • Lpk Pmc - 2014-09-22 19:24

    Current ANC cadre employed Eskom can not even manage one !! Disaster!!

  • Geoff Skelton - 2014-09-22 19:25

    OMF, where are they building these, I want to be at least 1000kms away up wind.

      Des Burman - 2014-09-22 19:33

      If they do this I move to Canada

      Made-In SA - 2014-09-22 20:07

      Next to Nkandla would be nice.That big resort needs a nuclear reactor all of its own.The taxpayers are paying for the electricity there anway.

  • Chris Ronald Rodrigues - 2014-09-22 19:27

    Yet not one of them are working around the world

      Craig King - 2014-09-23 08:15

      Rubbish. There are hundreds operating around the world and 67 are under construction right now. 54 people died at Chernobyl, zero people have died at Fukushima. Nuclear power has a better safety record than gas or coal. If anybody, for their own religious reasons, has issues with CO2 then nuclear is clean and green. Russia has a lot of experience in nuclear power and their design is accepted internationally. I would have preferred American or French technology but that is irrelevant. The biggest problem with this deal is the size of the kickbacks that will make our power more expensive than it should be but that would be true of any big infrastructure project and is no reason why we should not build them.

      Rajesh Sukha - 2014-09-23 10:11

      How can you make such an uninformed statement Chris- don't you have integrity.

  • Anthoula Joshua - 2014-09-22 19:27

    Would have felt safer if it was nuclear technology from France. I guess beggars can't be choosers. What scares me most is nuclear power in the hands of our very "efficient" government. They will nuke us.

      Rajesh Sukha - 2014-09-23 10:12

      Yet it was the ANC that volutarily abolished the nuclear arms programme that the NATS were developing- go study your history fool.

  • Cheryl Lyndie Stofberg - 2014-09-22 19:28

    it's like putting the grade 1 class in charge of the school ... !!!

      Arthur Crisp - 2014-09-23 00:56

      Cheryl, we did that back in '94

      Rajesh Sukha - 2014-09-23 10:14

      Ja we did Arthur- and what a chasnge to the country- from bankrupt and on the verge of war to this- even if you think that it is not better, you are the minority who do. To further your analogy Cheryl - like putting the grade 1 class in charge of the pool after the retard class was in charge.

  • wayne.strydom - 2014-09-22 19:28

    Oh please build them FAR away from any living thing. Remember Chernobyl? And yes, there's bound to be a bbbeee gravy train handle t here.

      Wullie Mack - 2014-09-22 20:32

      to that nut Spier tier,, Koeberg was built by people who knew what they were doing,,

      Michael Ross - 2014-09-22 20:41

      I think what Wayne means is that Koeberg was built by competent engineers. Russia.. well... they did have a lovely nuclear meltdown that destroyed a down and contaminated kilometers of land. If anything, it should have been signed with the U.S. -> they have generation 4 / 5 nuclear tech.

      sxp - 2014-09-22 22:16

      There is no FAR away to this sort of trouble, we need to never get into it at all.

      Made-In SA - 2014-09-22 22:52

      Build them all next to Nkandla.They will complement each other very nicely.Zuma wanted them.Let him look at it whole day long.

  • sthembize.zulu - 2014-09-22 19:29

    When Msholozi was in Russia recently some sniggered and said he was on holiday misusing taxpayers money

      antonio.tonin.58 - 2014-09-22 19:36

      Now we have proof!

      CliveK - 2014-09-22 19:55

      He certainly was, Mageba, he certainly was. This lot is going to make the arms deal look like my grandchildrens' pocket money.

  • wayne.strydom - 2014-09-22 19:30

    Hopefully there will be public participation when it comes to where these things are to be built. I don't want to be closer than 1000km from one of those things!

  • Jason Sole - 2014-09-22 19:30

    Here comes trouble.

  • Des Burman - 2014-09-22 19:31

    What a load of crap. The Russians are the worst to deal with (Chernobyl)in this respect and this ex Fishing Minister has absolutely NO IDEA !! Ja she got fired. This all explains the secret visit of JZ to USSR and for the AIDS treatment. Nuclear is NOT THE WAY TO GO !!

      CliveK - 2014-09-22 19:59

      But if you are committed to nuclear, the Russian power units I assume we will get might be the cheapest, but we can assume there's a reason for that. Rather go US/Jap, French or Korean. All very fishy, which seems appropriate with Tina involved.

      Michael Ross - 2014-09-23 00:22

      Well Spier, Fukushima did kind of get thrashed by a giant tsunami... we don't get those here. Not saying it wasn't a good nuclear plant, but it was technically built to withstand Magnitude 5.0 - 5.9 quakes, but the tsunami and Magnitude 6.8 quakes in 2011 were devastating and broke through the infrastructure, leading to the catastrophe. They could have foreseen that it would need to be upgraded, since it was one of the older Mark 1 designs going operational on 26 March 1971 - 40 years of functionality before the crisis, but with enough forewarning to prevent it. If Russia spearheaded (pun on Zuma's spear intended) the project, South Africa could be looking at the 4th major nuclear power plant incident since Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima. If you're going to spend so much money, at least buy the best you can get. That Russian nuclear rubbish is probably leftover scrap from the Cold War or World War II, but old Showerhead Zuma is too greedy to realize that.

  • Danie Baard - 2014-09-22 19:32


  • Fred Smith - 2014-09-22 19:32

    If this ever sees the light of day!

  • Mpiyakhe Dhlamini - 2014-09-22 19:38

    We need energy,fast.The people who suffer most from our energy deficit are ordinary people and businesses and not primarily government;we also need our energy to be clean based on our international commitments and renewables are largely unproven in the sense that I do not know of any country which has used renewable energy as a significant part of their grid(except maybe geothermal in iceland but that is not possible for everyone) so given these two constraints,nuclear energy seems like our best option. The other thing that must be said is that this program will undoubtedly require massive amounts of expenditure and our government has shown themselves to be irresponsible with our money in the past so if this project is to deliver the expected benefits for this country,we will need some way of overseeing it every step of the way as citizens(absolutely no secrecy) or some other safeguard otherwise the risk of corruption is too much and I would see no point in going ahead because we will just end up worse off than we were before possibly wishing we had spent our hard earned money on a generator or a lifetime supply of candles instead of trusting a corrupt government with it.

      wayne.strydom - 2014-09-22 19:51

      "Overseeing it? Decide whether it goes ahead?" Pie in the sky dreams sir! It is going ahead, and we have NO SAY. Yes energy we need, but in the hands of these goons? I think not!

      Ike Jakson - 2014-09-22 20:03

      You can’t have it both ways, Mpivakhe. The minister has signed; end of public participation; end of discussion.

      Roger Pacey - 2014-09-22 20:23

      Whatever they say it will cost, you can bet it will be ten times that amount by the time the project is completed. And who's going to do the building work? The same ham-fisted locals who caused Medupi to be years behind schedule and over budget?

      Fanie Kuhn - 2014-09-22 21:55

      MD, no corruption? dream on, my friend. It's already baked in.

      Jackie Gittins - 2014-09-23 14:11

      MD I agree in principle. Problem is we are still on this side of the grave. In heaven it will work

  • stompie.ferreira - 2014-09-22 19:39

    Payback time for all the years of training in Moskow!!!!!

  • Brendan Swart - 2014-09-22 19:40

    The main point is we are a country heading towards a power supply disaster if the necessary action is not taken, understandably there will be a lot of questions regarding this procurement .. but tbh .. Nuclear power can be beneficial if and when handled correctly .. and placed in the correct geologically stable position ... think the town of Sutherland and the reasons why the radio telescopes were placed there! Now all we have to do is ensure that the process is open and transparent ..

      wayne.strydom - 2014-09-22 19:43

      How do "we" ensure that everything is,open and transparent? Nothing is open and transparent in SA anymore. We are as were were in the apartheid days again. The press will bleat on about how there are bribes and graft everywhere and NOTHING will be done about it. Ministers, presidents and nephews will grow fat and people's lives will be endangered.

      Mpiyakhe Dhlamini - 2014-09-22 19:50

      agree with you 100%,maybe any procurement related to this programme should be handled by an independent committee of academics and technical experts and chaired by a retired judge as well as have someone like the pp review their work periodically,the amounts of money involved are so massive and the government track record so bad while the cost of failure is so great that I would say this is probably going to be the biggest single project undertaken by south africa since democracy.

      wayne.strydom - 2014-09-22 19:53

      Dhow mini, you and Brendan are living in cloud cuckoo land! Do you think this is Sweden where the citizens actually get a say in what government does?

      Motlalepula Matshwe - 2014-09-22 19:54

      @warren,Transparency is a new word. Twenty years ago you didn't even know such a word existed. So really what are you complaining about.

      CliveK - 2014-09-22 20:02

      Matshwe, two words missing from the dictionary in the Luthuli House library: transparency and accountability.

      Marina Dc - 2014-09-22 20:45

      It was signed in great secrecy, that is how transparent this process will be.

  • Johan van Wyk - 2014-09-22 19:46

    1986 - Chernobyl comes to mind.

      Johan van Wyk - 2014-09-22 19:58

      That might be their intention all along. We will glow in the dark

      Johan van Wyk - 2014-09-22 20:11

      @ Ike hope so.

      Ike Jakson - 2014-09-22 20:13

      Right about glowing in the dark like little fireflies; we can go straight to Mars from there. Do we have Internet Conntions with Mars yet?

      Johan van Wyk - 2014-09-22 20:13

      @Spiertier, I'm well aware of that. But given what's happening in the Ukraine I don't think that the current Russian government is much better.

      Marina Dc - 2014-09-22 20:46

      Only this time there will be 8 of them.

      Johan van Wyk - 2014-09-22 21:29

      @ Spier Tier don't you watch the news?

      CliveK - 2014-09-23 08:25

      Spier: in layman's terms: Putin is trying to rebuild the USSR and is taking advantage of a pocket of Russian sympathisers in Ukraine to create mayhem and get his project rolling.

  • Terence Wessels - 2014-09-22 19:47

    To those of you applauding this lunacy, please consider this. It will literally mean a 25% power increase year on year for at least five years. We will all be braaing much more on the up side. No wait, no farmers! Damn.

  • sean.ascottevans - 2014-09-22 19:48

    I'm going off Grid. To implement this, they talking about 24% increases year on year!

  • Günter Boisits - 2014-09-22 19:48


  • MJ - 2014-09-22 19:50

    The "New Arms Deal". The ANC's commercial wing (and pals such as Reddy & Co) have far too many shares in various entities within the energy sector to make anything they do under the guise of "government" as any thing but suspicious. Yes, we desperatly need energy, but do we trust the very same people responsible for our current energy woes to actually solve the problem?

  • Chris May - 2014-09-22 19:50

    Just a bit of pride would have been good for us. Now this?

  • CliveK - 2014-09-22 19:52

    Zuma's cut should enable him to pay back the R246m with interest.

  • rupert.richter - 2014-09-22 19:53

    Onehundred billion trillion gajillion Rands will be stolen.... Hope I can find a way to get some loot....

  • rupert.richter - 2014-09-22 19:53

    Onehundred billion trillion gajillion Rands will be stolen.... Hope I can find a way to get some loot....

      Ike Jakson - 2014-09-22 20:08

      Call yourself Malema; in fact you will have to change your name and paint your face black to get some loot.

  • Cecelia Hambides Rosa - 2014-09-22 19:54

    I bet Joemat Petterson had 2 translators, one to translate Russian to English and the other to translate all the nuclear energy terminologies

  • Ngqabutho Moyo - 2014-09-22 19:56

    Hope we dont inherit anothe Chenobyl

  • Ike Jakson - 2014-09-22 19:57

    It shows how the cycles change in the World; some will get the jitters but others will rejoice. It will probably freak Americans out of their cotton picking minds.

  • Duncan Gill - 2014-09-22 19:58

    Far as I know Russian nuclear power generating technology is at the forefront of industry worldwide.The Russians have recently become the only country to build and operate a completely clean nuclear reactor using feeder technology that the World does not have in operation yet.This new feeder reactor can process as fuel old nuclear waste a first in the industry.As for Russia's dodgy technology and safety Chernobyl is no worse than what has happened at Fukishima in Japan a result of poor planning and improper safety considerations.As far as three mile island is concerned the US only just adverted a catastrophe and they have many problems with their storage facilities that could lead to a disaster anytime now!I am sure the Russian power plants come at a far more reasonable price and to think the French are saints well one only has to look at the bribery and corruption surrounding the arms deal?No working with Russia will bode well and after all we are part of BRICS and the funding and cooperation Russia will help us with goes a long way to ensuring a good deal for all of us!

  • Jabu Chiloane - 2014-09-22 20:00

    From Russia With Love,lol.

  • Henry Van Der Vaartenburp - 2014-09-22 20:03

    Is it just me, or are nuclear reactors the kind of things that shouldn't fall into the "go with the lowest bidder" category?

  • Bongani Hlongwa - 2014-09-22 20:07

    Good deal; I hope it will contribute to economic growth and technical advancement for both countries. Needless to say that the safety standards, on these nuclear power plants should be of the highest degree.

  • Shane Bradshaw - 2014-09-22 20:07

    If think the big question is that do South Africans realise that they will be fitting the bill for our Goverment hasty signature. This is going to force the current cost of energy up and strangle the profitability of local trade. Best we think of the jobs that will be lost if energy costs rise.

  • Louise Peter Minnie - 2014-09-22 20:07

    O sherbert why cant we be leaders and "go green" another balls up for corruption

  • Shane Bradshaw - 2014-09-22 20:08

    If think the big question is that do South Africans realise that they will be fitting the bill for our Goverment hasty signature. This is going to force the current cost of energy up and strangle the profitability of local trade. Best we think of the jobs that will be lost if energy costs rise.

  • Adriaan Nel - 2014-09-22 20:10

    Carte Blanche reported on this story in a very negative light, Sunday evening. At a cost of more than 1 trillion I hope the country isn't bankrupt before the first watt is delivered.

  • Lilian Looney - 2014-09-22 20:13

    Oops. Run for cover!!!!

  • Jamill Ahmed - 2014-09-22 20:14

    First question. .why was this kept a secret until now? Why was the media not informed? What other deals were struck? I smell a rat and i firmly believe there is more than the eye can meet why did the president not go with more cabinet ministers? Time will tell

  • Afriman Jackson - 2014-09-22 20:15

    Electricity is very important.. If they pull this off then the price of electricity will come down and this will open doors for foreign investments.. Thus creating more jobs..

      Johan van Wyk - 2014-09-22 20:19

      Actually it will go up. Nuclear power is very expensive to built and maintain.

      Gray Maguire - 2014-09-22 20:33

      Sorry Afriman, you are very wrong about the electricity price, the jobs and the FDI. The current projected price at today's prices for a kWh of nuclear electricity is R1,67. Nuclear will also only make 0.5 jobs per MW, and they will be temporary with the exception of the high end jobs that will go to the Russians. And having a national credit rating that is junk won't help our investor attractiveness at all.

  • Bento Maepa - 2014-09-22 20:18

    All good and well but wait till the jobs from these plants become available - all of them will come bearing the surname ZUMA.

  • Jamill Ahmed - 2014-09-22 20:19

    Shane i agree and dont forget we cant handle basics how will we handle nuclear in this country if this comes true its a disaster in the making

      Johan van Wyk - 2014-09-22 20:19


      Afriman Jackson - 2014-09-22 20:24

      The very same way they are handling our sole nuclear power station..

  • Liana Loots - 2014-09-22 20:21

    this decidion will bite us in the arse

  • grant.mcgillan - 2014-09-22 20:22

    Well if were about to hand out a Trillion rand contract I'd expect the contractor to come my office. First money bags goes to rushia, and big joe boom boom goes to Vienna . Lap dogs I tell you.

      Bongani Hlongwa - 2014-09-22 22:17

      Beggers can't be choosers. They have the technology, and we don't. We need it, so we go to them to struck a deal. The deal is a competative one, there is no looser we are all satisfied. The spinofs look good, it will take us off the stoneage and place us in the modern era. What's the fuss? We should all be happy.

  • Peter Wasy - 2014-09-22 20:23

    How much is the commision of the JZ783 and the ministers, for job well done. Remember Mbeki said is commision not bribe at Arms Deal.

  • Liana Loots - 2014-09-22 20:23

    oh dear afriman, you live in a dreamworld

  • Terrence Schwartz - 2014-09-22 20:30

    WE voted for them earlier this year, or should i say, some of us voted for them earlier this year - the tribe has spoken, long live the tribe, viva the tribe!! In less than 20 years they have stuffed up what was built (by black and white) since 1652............. If Alan Paton were alive, he could have written Part 2 of Cry the Beloved Country.

  • Kgalalelo Landane - 2014-09-22 20:32

    The report clearly days we have one nuclear power station that's already been functioning in the country yet some old farts in here are still negative...I hate the ruling government but I wont t let that blind me even something positive happens a I fart negativity... I wish old generation non patriotic South Africans would all die and we the young non-racial and very patriotic generation of South Africa live in peace!!!!

  • Stephné Mijlof - 2014-09-22 20:36

    Nuclear power plants are the OPPOSITE of what is envisioned for SA by 2030 in the NDP! (National Development Plan)