South Africa has signed a $10bn nuclear power cooperation agreement with Russia for the construction of up to 9.6GW of nuclear facilities based on Russian technology.
The agreement for large scale nuclear power plant (NPP) development was signed during the International Atomic Energy Agency General (IAEAG) Conference in Vienna between Russia's Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation director general Sergey Kirienko and South Africa's Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
South Africa is going ahead with its plans for nuclear power plants despite funding concerns, reports Reuters.
Joemat-Pettersson said, "South Africa today, as never before, is interested in massive development of nuclear power, which is an important driver for the national economy growth.
"I am sure that cooperation with Russia will allow us to implement our ambitious plans for the creation by 2030 of 9.6GW of new nuclear capacities based on modern and safe technologies.
"This agreement opens up the door for RSA to access Russian technologies, funding, infrastructure, and provides proper and solid platform for future extensive collaboration."
Kirienko said: "I am convinced in cooperation with Russia, South Africa will gain all necessary competencies for the implementation of this large-scale national nuclear energy development programme.
"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."
For the last twenty years, the African nation has not been able to make investments in new power plants, which has resulted in a severe power crunch.
Kirienko observed: "In future this will allow to implement joint nuclear power projects in Africa and third countries. But from the very start this cooperation will be guided at providing the conditions for creation of thousands of new jobs and placing of a considerable order to local industrial enterprises worth at least $10bn."
In South Africa, nearly 95% of the power comes from coal-fired plants while only 5% comes from nuclear plants.
Image: Rosatom director general Sergey Kirienko and South Africa's Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson during IAEAG Conference in Vienna. Photo: The State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM.