SA, France sign nuclear cooperation agreement

OCTOBER 14, 2014

South Africa and France have signed an Inter-Governmental Framework Agreement on Nuclear Cooperation, the Energy Department announced on Tuesday.

“This agreement initiates the preparatory phase for the possible deployment of French nuclear technology in South Africa,” said the department.

The agreement builds on the more than 40 years of cooperation between South Africa and France, as symbolised by the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant.

The agreement -- which was signed by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, Laurent Fabius -- covers areas including skills development, localisation of nuclear technology as well as research and development in South Africa.

Minister Joemat-Pettersson said that South Africa was pleased to continue its long-standing cooperation with France.

“…This paves the way for establishing a nuclear procurement process.  To date, South Africa has concluded several Inter-Governmental Agreements and will proceed to sign similar agreements with the remaining nuclear vendor countries in preparation for the rollout of 9.6GW Nuclear New Build programme,” said the Minister.

In a statement last Friday, President Jacob Zuma announced that he had given authority to Minister Joemat-Pettersson to sign an agreement for the safe use of nuclear energy with France.

Last month, President Zuma granted permission to Minister Joemat-Pettersson to sign a nuclear agreement between South Africa and Russia.

The Presidency earlier this month said media reports that President Zuma has negotiated or will negotiate and conclude nuclear power agreements alone were incorrect.

In the State of the Nation Address in June, President Zuma announced that the country would prioritise energy security and would pursue an energy mix including coal, nuclear, shale gas and renewable energy.

At a media briefing earlier this month, the Energy Department said it was doing preparatory work towards the procurement process of nuclear power.

“… There will be a procurement process and the work that the department is doing is preparation towards that,” Deputy Director General (DDG) for Nuclear Energy at the Department of Energy, Zizamele Mbambo, said at the time.

In 2008, South Africa approved the nuclear energy policy with the long term vision to be self-sufficient in the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

In March 2011, Cabinet approved the Integrated Resource Plan 2010-2030 (IRP) that provides for the balanced energy mix that includes coal, renewable, gas and nuclear energy.

“The expansion of SA’s nuclear programme will yield tremendous benefit for the country ranging from mining, beneficiation, manufacturing, industrialisation, skills development and power generation without a sharp increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Significantly, this programme will create the much needed quality jobs and catapult South Africa into the knowledge economy to achieve energy security for the successful implementation of the country’s National Development Plan,” said Minister Joemat-Pettersson. - SAnews.gov.za