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PRETORIA, April 26. /TASS /. Russia’s state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom has confirmed that it plans to bid on construction of nuclear power plants in South Africa despite the decision of the country’s court to cancel the relevant intergovernmental agreement dated 2014 as "illegal"
"We cannot comment on the decision of the South African court regarding the actions of the former South African Energy Minister and Eskom (national energy monopoly). But we hope that South Africa will continue to view nuclear energy as a priority for the development of the country's energy sector," Viktor Polikarpov, Vice-President of Rosatom for Sub-Saharan Africa, told TASS.
He stressed that on Tuesday Rosatom responded to Eskom’s request to grant tender information for the construction of nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 9.6 GW.
"We have submitted an application and will participate in the tender," Polikarpov said.
Earlier on Wednesday, South Africa’s High Court 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.
April 28 is the deadline for submitting responses to the request for tender information, which is the first step to the announcement of a full-fledged tender.
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. Although the Russian state nuclear corporation and the Energy Ministry denied these allegations, the opposition turned to court.
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.