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Eskom signs Areva deal despite protests from nuclear reactor maker

South Africa’s state electric utility Eskom has forged ahead with a ZAR4.3 billion (US$400 million) contract with French nuclear company Areva SA following a withdrawal of a court motion to review the tender.

Areva SA will replace six steam generators at the utility’s Koeberg nuclear power plant, as reported by ESI-Africa.com last month, as part of a programme to install up to 9,600MW of new nuclear power by 2030.

However, Westinghouse Electric Company, which holds the license to the two reactors, had asked the High Court in Johannesburg last month to suspend the execution of the contract awarded to Areva. The court ruled that the evidence against the tender was based on ‘hearsay’ evidence forcing Westinghouse to withdraw its motion.

Matshela Koko, acting group executive for technology and commercial at Eskom, said in a statement: “Nothing stops us from forging ahead. This means that the interdict application is now firmly behind us and we can indeed focus on the implementation of the steam generator replacement project.”

Koeberg comprises two 900 MW units and supplies and provides around 5 per cent of South Africa’s power. The six new steam generators should be installed by 2018.