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French EDF Energy Company Ready to Help Design South Africa’s New NPP - Official

© Sputnik / Pavel Lisitsyn / Go to the photo bankConstruction of new power unit at Beloyarskaya NPP
Construction of new power unit at Beloyarskaya NPP - Sputnik International
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A French EDF Group senior official has told Sputnik about the company's possible cooperation with South Africa amid the plans of the latter to build a new nuclear power plant.

ABU DHABI (Sputnik) — The French EDF Group energy company has expressed readiness to participate in designing South Africa's new nuclear power plant (NPP), according to Xavier Ursat, EDF's senior executive vice president responsible for new nuclear projects and engineering.

"We know that South Africa is thinking about a new nuclear program, so we are at their disposal to help design the program and, of course, [to] respond to their demands," Ursat told Sputnik on the sidelines of the nuclear conference organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Abu Dhabi.

According to Ursat, the South African authorities have not decided on the foreign partners that would be engaged in the project, but the French company would be ready to participate in designing the NPP, while its representatives were prepared to hold talks with South Africa's Energy Minister David Mahlobo on potential partnership.

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The comment comes less than a month after South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs granted authorization to state-owned electricity company Eskom to build a new 4,000 megawatt NPP in the country's southern Western Cape province. Following the authorization, the South African side should make a decision about companies that would be partners in the project.

The EDF Group is not the only entity that has expressed readiness to participate in the construction of the new NPP. Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom, US Westinghouse Electric Corporation and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) have all shown interest in designing the facility.

According to Ursat, the company will close the deal on purchasing Areva NP, a Paris-based multinational group that manufactures reactors for nuclear power plants (NPP), by late December

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In 2015, the EDF Group agreed to increase its share in Areva's reactor business within the framework of the government plan to support the French nuclear sector. In January 2017, the European Commission approved a restructuring plan for Areva.

The sale is expected to help EDF boost its export capabilities and compete with other major NPP builders, including Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom, and Japan's Hitachi Ltd and Toshiba Corporation.

South Africa Nuclear Regulator Plans to License New Nuclear Site by June 2018

Sputnik also spoke with South Africa’s National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) CEO, Bismark Tyobeka, on the issue, who said that the agency is planning to grant a license for a new 4,000 megawatt nuclear power plant in the Western Cape province in June 2018.

"On the issue of the environmental authorization of the site, in South Africa we have a dual regulatory process when it comes to licensing. You have to first get an approval from the Department of Environmental Affairs in terms of environmental assessment report and then the nuclear regulatory body must grant the license… our plan was to finish the Duynefontein site in June 2018," Tyobeka said on the sidelines of the nuclear conference in Abu Dhabi, organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Duynefontein is close to the shore and is located north of the Koeberg nuclear power station, currently the only nuclear power plant in South Africa, also owned and operated by Eskom.

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