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Russia looms large in murky South Africa nuclear plan

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Subject

South Africa-Russia cooperation on nuclear energy.

Significance

Fitch Ratings yesterday warned of a possible credit rating downgrade later in the year, partly due to weak growth linked to power supply woes. President Jacob Zuma outlined the government's long-term energy security plan in his February 12 state of the nation address, though subsequent attention on the details of a nuclear 'deal' with Russia reveal secretive diplomacy and governance problems.

Impacts

  • The start of power production at Eskom's long-delayed Medupi power station will begin to ease supply woes -- but slowly.
  • Johannesburg's plan to generate power from biogas could encourage other cities to implement independent programmes.
  • State plans to generate 23 billion rand to help Eskom by selling "non-strategic" assets could be resisted by affected ministries and unions.
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