SA signs nuclear power deal with Russia

The deal paves the way for the building of up to 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power plants by 2030.

Eskom's Koeberg Power Station. Picture: Eskom.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa signed a nuclear power cooperation deal with Russia on Monday that paves the way for the building of up to 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power plants based on Russian technology by 2030, state nuclear firm Rosatom said in a statement.

"This agreement opens up the door for South Africa to access Russian technologies, funding, infrastructure, and provides proper and solid platform for future extensive collaboration," South African energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said in the statement.

South Africa's integrated resources plan envisions nuclear energy being added to the national grid to help reduce reliance on coal, which Eskom uses to generate 80 percent of the country s electricity.

Eskom has battled to keep the lights on and is facing mounting pressure to bring the Medupi Power Station online as a matter of urgency.

Last week, the utility said it's confident the Medupi Power Plant will come online by December.

It said the power plant is expected to be synchronised at midday on Christmas Eve.