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South Africa’s court cancels deal with Russia on building nuclear power plants

April 26, 2017, 11:55 UTC+3

The agreement provided for a strategic partnership for the development of the nuclear power industry of South Africa

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© Yelena Nagornykh/TASS

PRETORIA, April 26. /TASS/. The High Court in South Africa has ruled to cancel a 2014 intergovernmental agreement with Russia for the construction of eight nuclear reactors in that country.

High Court Judge Lee Bozalek said that the intergovernmental agreement with Russia "is unconstitutional and unlawful and it is reviewed and set aside."

In his turn, Kelvin Kemm, chairperson of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa told TASS he does not think the court’s decision will seriously affect the project of construction of nuclear power plants in the country.

"It does not make any difference and I do not see any consequences. We have similar agreements with China, France, South Korea. It is an attempt of the anti-nuclear lobby to ruin the project. We continue cooperating with interested Russian organizations," he said.

The agreement provides for a strategic partnership for the development of the nuclear power industry of South Africa. It envisages not only with the construction of nuclear power plants, but development of various areas of nuclear industry in general, in particular construction of a multipurpose research reactor under the Russian technology and training of South African specialists in Russian universities.

The document aroused sharp criticism of the opposition in South Africa, which considered that it violated the national legislation, since it obliges the government to work exclusively with Rosatom without holding any tender. The state corporation and the Energy Ministry denied these allegations.

The court decision on the lawsuit of the opposition appeared two days before the deadline for submission of responses to the request to grant information about tender for the construction of nuclear power plants. Kemm said that it will not affect the plans for preparing the tender.

Four companies from China (State Nuclear Power Technology), France (EDF), Russia (Rosatom) and the Republic of Korea (KEPCO) are main bidders for construction of the NPP in South Africa.

South Africa’s energy monopoly Eskom is the project’s operator and owner of future nuclear power plants.

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