SA signs nuclear safety deals

2014-09-25 14:33

South Africa has concluded several bilateral cooperation agreements on nuclear safety during a conference in Austria.

The National Nuclear Regulator of South Africa has said that a new agreement was signed with the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland, and agreements with the United Kingdom’s Office of Nuclear Regulation and the United States’ Regulators Commission were renewed.

“I believe that our bilateral arrangements will assist in strengthening the National Nuclear Regulator’s regulatory capabilities for providing for the protection of persons, property and the environment against nuclear damage,” the regulator’s chief executive Bismark Tyobeka said today.

The agreements were signed on the sidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 58th conference in Vienna, Austria. The conference ends tomorrow.

Bilateral discussions were being convened with the National Nuclear Regulator’s counterparts in Canada, China and Sweden.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance repeated its call for the government to make public details of the deal struck with Russia to build new nuclear power plants in South Africa.

Some details of the cooperation agreement – to supply as many as eight nuclear plants generating up to 9.6GW of power – were announced on Monday in joint statements issued by South Africa’s energy department and Russia’s atomic energy corporation, Rosatom.

DA leader Helen Zille today called on South Africans to “stand up against what appears to be potential for corruption on a grand scale, unfolding before our eyes”.

Briefing the media at Parliament on what she called a “potentially very, very serious situation”, she said the issuing of identical statements made it clear a deal had already been struck with Russia to develop nuclear programmes in South Africa.

There had been speculation for many months of a “secret deal” between President Jacob Zuma and Russian President Vladimir Putin around the nuclear build programme, “costing an estimated R1 trillion, which will have to be paid for by future generations”.

This had now been given substance by the statements on Monday.

“Given the continued cover-up in the arms deal crisis ... it is quite extraordinary they are going ahead with what appears to be another opening for large-scale corruption.”

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