South Africa plans to sign new, more transparent nuclear power agreements with five foreign countries after a high court blocked a deal with Russia due to a lack of oversight, the energy ministry said on Saturday.
Transparent nuclear new build plans
South Africa signed intergovernmental agreements with Russia, France, China, South Korea and the United States in 2014 as part of plans to build a fleet of nuclear power plants at a cost of between $30billion and $70billion, Reuters reported.
Many investors view the scale of the nuclear plan as unaffordable and a major risk to South Africa’s financial stability, while opponents of President Jacob Zuma say the deal will be used as a conduit for corruption.
According to state-owned power utility, Eskom, the nuclear new build will play a role in South Africa’s energy mix and will help reduce the country’s reliance on coal.
The Western Cape High Court found last month that the agreement with Russia lacked transparency and offered Moscow favorable tax rules while placing heavy financial obligations on South Africa.
The energy ministry said it had “major concerns” about the court judgment but would not appeal the ruling. It will continue with nuclear energy plans adhering to stricter procedural guidelines, including consulting parliament.
“There is no intention to table the current agreements but (we) will embark to sign new agreements with all five countries and table them within reasonable time to parliament,” the ministry said in a statement.