Th emurky nulcvera relationship between Russia and South Africa

World Nuclear Association strategist Steve Kidd said that it was highly unlikely that Russia would succeed in carrying out even half of the projects in which it claims to be closely involved.

While a world nuclear report by two independent international energy consultants concludes that, “the lack of realism and overblown market expectations drive nuclear companies and traditional utilities into ruin”.

This may explain why rating agencies consider nuclear investment risky and the abandoning of nuclear projects explicitly ‘credit positive’.

Over and above that, the project as it stands threatens our country’s sovereignty, since our energy supply will be solely in the hands of Russia, which Allister Sparks describes as a country with “one of the world’s nastiest dictatorships”

Zuma, the Guptas and the Russians — the inside storyRAND DAILY MAIL LILY GOSAM 02 FEBRUARY 2016  “………From Russia with love of all things nuclear   Russia is Zuma’s “preferred partner” for the 9 600 MW nuclear build, according to energy experts, analysts and journalists. He has had numerous personal negotiations (some undisclosed) between 2009 and 2014 with his Russian counterparts — Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev[13] — and within that time two agreements were signed (and both concealed from public scrutiny[14] [15] [16]).

Should the nuclear programme go ahead as Zuma and his benefactors have planned, Rosatom — Russia’s state-owned nuclear company — will build the nuclear power plants.

Rosatom consists of 360 companies, with 34 reactors in operation, and 29 under construction, including nine in Russia [M&G][17]. It is a nuclear mass production machine designed and dependent on worldwide nuclear energy expansion and domination[18].

Over the past five years, Rosatom has quietly cornered the market in nuclear energy, systematically seeking out agreements and contracts with roughly 30 nations interested in the installation of nuclear power plants. According to Global Risk Insights, Russian-built nuclear power plants in foreign countries become more akin to embassies — or even military bases — than simple bilateral infrastructure projects. The long-term or permanent presence that accompanies the exportation of Russian nuclear power will afford president Vladimir Putin a notable influence in countries crucial to regional geopolitics[19] [20].

Vladimir Slivyak (senior lecturer on Environmental Policy at the Russian National Research University and part of a Russian organisation called Eco Defence) stated that Rosatom is a cross between a state organization and a private-owned company. It is, in essence, a “state within the state,” functioning under no one’s control but its own[21]. Consequently, it is nothing short of a breeding ground for abusive practices, said Slivyak.

In 2010, Ecodefense and Transparency International (Russia) conducted a study into Rosatom and found that 83 out of 200 (41%) of Rosatom’s purchasing contracts had violated the company’s own procurement rules. Several years after the study was published more than 300 Rosatom employees were fired over corruption allegations, several cases involving top officials (reports Slivyak)[22].

Recently, a director of Rosatom’s fuel supply arm — which supplies almost half of the enriched uranium fuel used at Koeberg (thanks to a deal struck by Zuma) — was arrested by the FBI [Fin24][23]. In September 2015 the director pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and for facilitating $2-million bribes[24]. As of writing, he is still to be sentenced, but could face up to 28 years in prison[25].

Slivyak concludes that “With vast resources and solid state support at its disposal, the Russian nuclear industry remains under almost no external control. The lack of transparency, widespread corruption, failure to demonstrate high levels of safety, and the unresolved waste and decommissioning issues must be of high concern to any potential customer of Rosatom’s on the international market.”[26]

Radioactive idea goes rogue

To and try grasp the scale of the nuclear programme, the initial costs of the controversial arms deal announced in 1999 was only about 13% of the year’s budget. By contrast, the nuclear programme — at an estimated maximum cost of R1.6-trillion[27] — equals approximately 100% of 2015’s total budget and a third of our gross domestic product (M&G’s amaBhungane)[28].

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) — an affiliate of Cosatu — described the energy investment as “national suicide”[29].

And the figures exclude the cost of delays (and a depreciation rand). Nuclear plants can be completed in as little as four to six years[30], yet it took an average of 13.8 years to finish the reactors that were completed in 2011[31]. And as of July 2015, 75% (47) of all nuclear building sites globally are delayed, often by years.[32]

Questions have also been raised as to Russia’s ability to fund its overall worldwide nuclear projects.

World Nuclear Association strategist Steve Kidd said that it was highly unlikely that Russia would succeed in carrying out even half of the projects in which it claims to be closely involved. While a world nuclear report by two independent international energy consultants concludes that, “the lack of realism and overblown market expectations drive nuclear companies and traditional utilities into ruin”[33]. This may explain why rating agencies consider nuclear investment risky and the abandoning of nuclear projects explicitly ‘credit positive’[34].

Slivyak, speaking on South Africa’s $100-billion nuclear programme, said that even at better times, Russia has never funded foreign reactor construction with anything close to this amount [Fin24][35].

Montalto maintained that treasury under Nene found initial evidence that the 9 600 MW deal was unaffordable [Business Day and Fin24][36]. In fact, the energy department’s own updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2013) concluded that the nuclear programme should be “delayed”[37] until at least 2025 and even until 2035[38] [39], and should be “abandoned” altogether if costs exceeded $6 500/kW[40]. (Costs were estimated in July 2015 to be about $8 000 per kilowatt installed, by Prof Steve Thomas[41] [42] [43]— and these are just for “overnight costs”, which excludes finance, insurance, operational costs, conversion and enrichment, fuel manufacture and substitution, waste disposal and decommissioning[44]).

The government’s IRP2013 findings were confirmed by international consultants at KPMG and Deloitte, who were commissioned by the energy department (but whose findings were withheld from the public as being classified)[45]. Moreover, independent energy experts (at UCT’s Energy Research Centre; the CSIR; and the University of Stellenbosch)  concluded that the nuclear technology is not needed, as there are viable alternatives[46].

Before Nene’s firing, he told Business Day in an interview that he would not sign off on the nuclear power deal if it was unaffordable, and would not be swayed by political meddling[47].

Like Nene, Pravin Gordhan — as newly appointed finance minister — stated that the nuclear procurement would go ahead only if it was “affordable” [48].

Nevertheless Russia will tailor-make its procurement proposal so that it seems attractive, such as a 20 year loan repayment agreement, at low interest rates, and a grace period such that South Africa only begins to pay once a nuclear plant is operational.   However, the costings will exclude delays, inflated prices from tenderpreneur practices, rand depreciation, insurance costs, operational costs, conversion and enrichment, fuel manufacture and substitution, waste disposal and decommissioning[49].

Steve Thomas (energy policy professor at the University of Greenwich Business School UK – who has monitored South Africa’s nuclear plans since 1997) said that the South African government was not alone in being misled by uncritically accepting over-optimistic cost forecasts made by nuclear proponents[50]……..

Policy makers have also expressed grave concern over a 2014 signed agreement between Russia and South Africa (which was leaked to the media by Slivyak)[54] [55]. It is said to contain clauses that are against our country’s national interests, is in conflict with our constitution, and leans heavily in Russia’s favour.

Over and above that, the project as it stands threatens our country’s sovereignty, since our energy supply will be solely in the hands of Russia, which Allister Sparks describes as a country with “one of the world’s nastiest dictatorships” [Business Day][56]…….http://www.rdm.co.za/politics/2016/02/02/zuma-the-guptas-and-the-russians–the-inside-story

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