Russian nuclear energy heavyweight, Rosatom, confirms that no deal has been signed with South Africa; it was merely the first to sign the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the nuclear sphere.
Viktor Polikarpov, regional vice-president of Rosatom in Sub-Saharan African, told CNBC Africa that the nuclear power supplier is one of the vendors bidding for South Africa's nuclear programme.
He said the country's government will declare the start of the procurement process by the end of the month and finalisation of this will be in three months.
With recent speculation that Rosatom and Russia have a favourable bias in being awarded the contract, Polikarpov clarified that, “These rumours and insinuations spread because we were the first to sign the intergovernmental agreement.
"It [the proposal] was a bit more comprehensive because we did a lot of work, having been working for more than three years now in this market.”
Polikarpov further substantiated that, “We are participating as one of the bidders equal to other participants.”
On the talking point of the bidding process, Polikarpov said it was the first to put forward the integrated proposal; it’s not just about nuclear building of power plants, but a comprehensive programme of reindustrialisation of the country.
“We have launched a number of programmes, and have signed MOUs [memorandums of understanding] with the government of South Africa on the training of people, training personnel and ongoing public awareness," said Polikarpov.
South Africa is still battling a skills shortage, Polikarpov outlined the options that Rosatom has offered to South Africa. Among others is the engineering procurement that offers a state loan to the government.
Polikarpov said nuclear power has been 50 years in the making in South Africa and there are trained nuclear engineers. The current MOU simply wants to develop 200 nuclear specialists.