Earthlife Africa Jhb
Johannesburg – President Zuma’s mysterious visit to Russia in August 2014, and the intergovernmental nuclear partnership agreement signed with Russian state owned nuclear cooperation, Rosatom, in September 2014 reveals that Russia is tops in South Africa’s nuclear procurement ambitions. A new report released by environmental justice organisation, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, however details just how concerning a potential deal with Russia will be.
The report, entitled “Russian Nuclear Industry in Review”, is authored by Russian environmental activist and academic Vladimir Slivyak; and provides an insider view into the workings of the Russian nuclear industry. The report is fourth in the series “Pay more with nuclear”, which examines the enormous costs involved in building, operating and decommissioning nuclear power plants.
While the contents of the intergovernmental framework with Russia are being unconstitutionally withheld from the South African public, the deal is being marketed as preferential because it includes Russian government funding, construction assistance and fuel cycle services. But the “Russian Nuclear Industry in Review” report shows fatal flaws with the concept and reveals the shady corners of the Russian nuclear industry. For example, Rosatom cannot even insure the safety of its own local reactors. No less than 39 incidents were reported at Russian nuclear facilities in 2013 alone due to mismanagement, equipment defects and design errors. The report further gives several examples of how Rosatom’s operations, both within Russia and internationally, are consistently delayed due to cost and safety concerns.
“One of the most concerning aspects of the report is the detailed description of corruption in the Russian nuclear industry”, says Earthlife Africa’s Energy Policy Officer, Dominique Doyle. “Although corruption in Russia is hard to track, evidence is provided that over 270 officials have been fired from Rosatom for corruption allegations including purchasing sub-standard materials. It has yet to be determined which plants, both in Russia and abroad, have been constructed with materials unfit for nuclear safety standards.”
“Russian Nuclear Industry in Review” is available online on the Earthlife Africa Johannesburg website, from Friday the 5th of December 2014, at: http://earthlife.org.za/2014/12/pay-more-with-nuclear-report-4/ The previous three reports were authored by the world renown nuclear economist, Professor Stephen Thomas from the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom, and are available at the Earthlife Africa Johannesburg website: http://earthlife.org.za/2014/09/pay-more-with-nuclear/.
Energy Policy Officer
Earthlife Africa Jhb
Tel: +27 11 339 3662
Cell: +27 79 331 2028