South Africa Minister of energy, Mmamoloko Kubayi said the government may appeal last week’s court judgement declaring a cooperation pact with Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom to construct nuclear power plants unlawful.
“Do we have to appeal the judgment? We are looking at those options,”he said.
South Africa and Russia signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in 2014 for cooperation between Rosatom and South African utility Eskom.
The deal aims to build 9,600 megawatts (MW) of nuclear capacity to wean the African nation off coal.
The pact has drawn criticism from civil society and environmental groups accusing the government of seeking to reach secret deals with Russia without holding an open bidding process.
The country’s High Court in Western cape on Wednesday deemed the pact unlawful and said any actions taken by the government so far to start procurement should also be put aside.
The Russian state nuclear corporation and South Africa’s Energy Department denied these allegations.
The court ruling risks delaying the government’s plan to add new capacity to the already strained power generation network.
Chairperson of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa, Kelvin Kemm said he did not think that the court’s decision would seriously affect the cooperation with Russia.
“It does not make any difference and I do not see any consequences. We have similar agreements with China, France, South Korea. It is an attempt of the anti-nuclear lobby to ruin the project. We continue cooperating with interested Russian organizations,” he said.
Last week, Rosatom confirmed plans to bid on construction of nuclear power plants in South Africa despite the decision of the country’s court to cancel the relevant intergovernmental agreement.