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South Africa may appeal court’s ruling canceling deal with Russia on nuclear plants

The legal team of South Africa’s Department of Energy will meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue

PRETORIA, May 3. /TASS/. South Africa’s Department of Energy may appeal the High Court’s judgement declaring the 2014 agreement with Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom for the construction of nuclear power plants unlawful and subject to cancelation.

"Do we have to appeal the judgment? We are looking at those options," Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi told parliament's energy committee on Tuesday.

The legal team of the department will meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue, she 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 Russian state nuclear corporation and South Africa’s Energy Department denied these allegations.

Last week, the High Court of South Africa’s province Western Cape ruled to cancel a 2014 intergovernmental agreement with Russia for the construction of eight nuclear reactors in that country.

Kelvin Kemm, chairperson of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa told TASS he did not think that the court’s decision would seriously affect the cooperation with Russia.

"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.

Last week, Rosatom confirmed its 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.

Viktor Polikarpov, Vice-President of Rosatom for Sub-Saharan Africa, told TASS that the corporation 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.

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.