Russia will build eight nuclear reactors in South Africa before 2023 as part of a strategic partnership in nuclear energy, announced Monday the Russian state nuclear company Rosatom, that confirmed the project will have a total investment of between 31,000 and 39,000 million euros.
“Each reactor will cost 3900 million euros,” specified Monday the president of the company, Sergei Kiriyenko. Russia will also be responsible for financing the project to an affordable rate.
The eight reactors whose locations are now being studied by the South African government, will add a production capacity of 9.6 gigawatts.
So far, the country hosts the continent’s only nuclear power plant, Koeberg Central, which generates 5% of the energy consumed in South Africa. The rest comes primarily from coal.
“Rosatom is ready to help South Africa to create a world-class industrial center from the initial stage of the nuclear fuel cycle to engineering and production teams,” Kiriyenko said.
The agreement, signed on Monday in Vienna during the 58th Session of the General Assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will involve the construction of the first nuclear power plant based on Russian technology on the African continent.
“Thousands of jobs will be created through contracts worth some 7800 million euros” for the local industry, Kiriyenko promised. It will allow Russia and South Africa to cooperate in projects in third countries in the future.
The agreement also provides for the formation of South African specialists in Russian universities.
“The agreement opens the door for Russian technology to get to South Africa, along with funding, infrastructure and to provide a solid platform for future collaborations,” said on Monday the South African Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
She said that “the aspiration of her country to develop nuclear energy has only peaceful purposes”.
With the agreement signed with Russia, South Africa solidifies its plans to produce nuclear energy, after nearly two decades without investing in the construction of new plants.
Last December, the government said it was considering delaying the construction of nuclear power plants to focus on the production of coal and other energy sources such as hydro and gas.
On the other hand, it has been reported that Rosatom will build a nuclear power plant in Jordan following an agreement reached between the two countries. The center will be built in the province of Zarqa and will have two reactors with a combined capacity of 2,000 megawatts.