On 22 September 2014, Russia’s state-owned nuclear company, ROSATOM, signed an intergovernmental agreement with South Africa on strategic partnership and cooperation in South Africa's nuclear energy and nuclear industry. The deal was signed parallel to the 58th session of the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference in Vienna. In a statement by representatives of both countries, it was indicated that “the agreement lays the foundation for the large-scale nuclear power plants procurement and development programme of South Africa based on the construction of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) with Russian VVER reactors with total installed capacity of up to 9.6 GW (that is up to eight NPP units) in South Africa by 2030”.
These will be the first NPPs based on Russian technology to be built on the African continent. In addition to building the nuclear units, the agreement provides for partnerships in various areas including the construction of a Russian technology-based research reactor, assistance in the development of South African nuclear infrastructure, and the education of South African nuclear specialists in Russian universities. There will be broad localisation of equipment for the new NPPs through the joint implementation of the agreement. ROSATOM’s director general, Sergey Kirienko, said that “the new project for up to eight nuclear power units will contribute to the creation of thousands of new jobs and place a considerable order to local industrial enterprises worth at least $10 billion”. ROSATOM currently has 29 projects for the construction of nuclear power plants, including 19 foreign commissions in India, China, Turkey, Vietnam, Finland, Hungary and others.