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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Russian nuclear company Rosatom have announced an agreement that will see the two organisations joining forces to improve nuclear infrastructure in countries that have little or no nuclear power. Under the terms of the agreement, Rosatom will provide a financial contribution of up to $1.8 million (R23.9 million) and an in-kind contribution of up to $2 million over the next three years to IAEA programmes on nuclear infrastructure development.

The IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section, through its Technical Co-operation Programme, provides targeted support to member states embarking on new nuclear power programmes or expanding existing ones. About 30 countries are currently considering, planning or starting such a programme, according to the agency.

Rosatom meet the team

The Rosatom team from left to right: Viktor Polikarpov - Vice President; Alex Kirillov - Director; Irina Simonova - Marketing Analyst; Ryan Collyer - Press Secretary; Louise Ganesh - Office Manager; and Zakhele Madela - Business Develoment Manager.

“Developing a nuclear power programme is a major undertaking of at least 10 to 15 years. The IAEA’s milestones approach provides structured guidance and checklists to help nuclear ‘newcomer’ countries better understand the commitments involved in introducing nuclear power, from developing a regulatory framework to building a plant and planning for its decommissioning and nuclear waste management,” the IAEA explains.

The agreement with Rosatom will see the Russian company providing assistance with nuclear training, development of industry regulations, and analysis of safety facilities, under the auspices of the IAEA.

In South Africa, Rosatom has been actively involved in Eskom’s proposed nuclear build. The Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) signed between the two in 2014, aimed at developing 9 600 MW of nuclear capacity, equivalent to up to 10 nuclear reactors, has been highly controversial, and was deemed unlawful by a High Court last week.

Despite this, Rosatom has confirmed that it plans to bid on the construction of nuclear power plants in South Africa. “We cannot comment on the decision of the South African court regarding the actions of the former South African Energy Minister and Eskom. But we hope that South Africa will continue to view nuclear energy as a priority for the development of the country's energy sector,” Viktor Polikarpov, Vice-President of Rosatom for sub-Saharan Africa, told the Russian media.

Reuters reports analysts stating that the High Court ruling would not stop nuclear plans in South Africa, with one stating that it is “most probably just another bump in the road” and that nothing will derail the nuclear programme. It is estimated that the programme could end up costing around R1 trillion.

Image credit: http://rosatom.co.za/meet-the-team/

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