South Africa has no money for crucial nuclear energy project

South Africa has no money for crucial nuclear energy project
South Africa is interested in realizing a large-scale nuclear project with Russia. However, the country does not have the funds to do so.

The nuclear project was prioritized by former President Jacob Zuma, but new South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who came to power in February, ditched the project.

“Once we are clear that this is affordable for us to do, we are open for business including with Russia. I think the approach we will take is to avoid the Big Bang approach. The initial intervention was that we would do close to 10,000 megawatts... It’s unaffordable,” the African National Congress’ treasurer general, Paul Mashatile, said at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg. 

The agreement between Zuma’s government and Russia was signed in 2014. Under the $50 billion project, Russia’s Rosatom agreed to build nuclear power stations with a capacity of 10,000 megawatts in South Africa to cut the country’s dependence on coal.

Coal is used to generate 80 percent of South Africa’s electricity. It only has one NPP with a capacity of 930 megawatts, and has been plagued by blackouts over the past decade, affecting the economy.

The project with Russia would create up to 30,000 jobs in South Africa. In May, Rosatom said it is still committed to the deal. “We are confident in our world class technology, unmatched safety standards and highly competitive solutions,” the company said.

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