SA in new nuclear deal with Russia

Johannesburg - South Africa and Russia intend to implement several joint projects for education in the nuclear power industry, the department of energy said on Wednesday.

As part of a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries, 200 South Africans will be trained at Russian universities and educational organisations, the department said in a statement.

Two memorandums were signed at the 7th Brics summit in Ufa, Russia, between the department and the Russian state nuclear corporation, Rosatom.

 "The countries will co-operate in order to provide training for five categories of specialists for the South African nuclear industry: nuclear power plant (NPP) personnel, engineers and construction workers, staff for operations not related to the power industry, personnel for nuclear infrastructure, students and teachers.  

There has been controversy over reported nuclear deals between Russia and South Africa.

Bloomberg on Tuesday reported that Russia was seen as the frontrunner to win the right to build South African nuclear power plants that may be worth as much as R1.2trn.

There was a six-month deadline to award contracts, however, it was not yet clear who would pay for the country's biggest project.

President Jacob Zuma has met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin several times over the past year and the two nations have signed a nuclear co-operation accord.

The department of energy on Wednesday said the second memorandum signed by the corporation and South Africa stipulated joint efforts of the parties to promote nuclear power in the country.

This would increase awareness of modern nuclear technologies and ensure public acceptance of nuclear power, the energy department said.

A plan for the implementation of a joint communication program to be launched in South Africa, would be worked out.

Rosatom and the department would also consider the creation of a nuclear energy information centre in South Africa.

"The parties seek to exchange information and best practices in the nuclear industry by organising working visits and international conferences and exhibitions," the department said.

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