South Africa is to sign new nuclear power co-operation agreements with five countries, replacing its previous agreements.

The move comes after a high court ruled last month that President Jacob Zuma should not have undertaken a 2014 nuclear deal with Russia without a go-ahead from Parliament. According to the court’s ruling, the deal was heavily slanted in Russia’s favour. 

The court also invalidated agreements signed with the US in 2009 and with South Korea in 2011. And it ordered the government to hold public and parliamentary hearings on its planned nuclear programme, which opponents say is too costly and which has been dogged by corruption allegations.

South Africa will now re-do its nuclear agreements with France and China as well as Russia, South Korea and the US. The agreements amount to nuclear construction of up to 9600 MW at a cost of up to $75bn.  

The government said on Saturday that it would not appeal the court’s ruling and that it would now move forward with the nuclear programme in a fully transparent manner.   

Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi was quoted as saying that nuclear power “remains a core component” of South Africa’s energy mix, but that “all our processes will now be in line with the constitution and open and transparent as we don’t want to be in court every week.” 

 

Image: The 1860 MW Koeberg plant, South Africa’s only existing NPP. Credit: Philipp P Egli