China, South Africa extend nuclear cooperation

South Africa and China have signed an intergovernmental framework agreement on nuclear cooperation. It follows the recent signing of similar accords with France and Russia.

The agreement was signed in Pretoria on 7 November by South African energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and China National Energy Administration director Wu Xinxiong.

According to a statement from the South African energy ministry, the agreement “initiates the preparatory phase for a possible utilization of Chinese nuclear technology in South Africa.” It added, “The government has reaffirmed its commitment to expand nuclear power generation by an additional 9.6 GWe, in line with the Integrated Resource Plan 2010-2030, as a means of ensuring energy security and contributing to economic growth.”

Joemat-Pettersson said, “We have stated that the nuclear new build program offers important opportunities for South Africa as it will enhance job creation, skills development and the revitalization of our nuclear industry.” She added, “We will be looking for significant localization that can contribute to broad industrialization and the development of a thriving knowledge economy in South Africa.”

The energy ministry noted, “The preparatory phase of the nuclear new build program, which the government has started, entails the signing of intergovernmental framework agreements with various nuclear vendor countries. These allow the government to gain more understanding of the nuclear technology offerings of the different countries.”

South Africa recently signed similar nuclear cooperation agreements with Russia and France, and the country already has accords in place with the USA and South Korea. It also expects to sign such an agreement with Japan.

Last month, the department of energy began holding so-called ‘vendor parade workshops’ with all vendor countries “that are ready and have accepted the invitation to participate.” These events are to form part of the government’s technical investigations prior to making its procurement decision.

South Africa has two operating nuclear power reactors at Koeberg. Faced with the need to broaden its energy mix both to meet its electricity needs while achieving economic growth and reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the country’s 2010 Integrated Resource Plan sets out a blueprint for a sustainable energy mix including an expansion in nuclear capacity alongside an increase in renewable energy.

Source: World Nuclear News

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