Question NW683 to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
10 March 2023 - NW683
Msimang, Prof CT to ask the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
Whether, (a) following reports of concerns over the expiry of the South Africa and United States of America (USA) Nuclear Cooperation Agreement and that negotiations on a new agreement are ongoing and being expedited and (b) while the two parties are engaging on measures to ensure continuity of cooperation during the negotiations of the New Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, the USA National Regulatory Commission has informed Westinghouse that it has temporarily withdrawn their authorisation to supply Eskom’s Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant with nuclear fuel, he will furnish Prof C T Msimang with details and/or an update on the specified negotiations; if not, why not; if so, by what date?NW758
It should be noted that since the Media Statement issued by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on the 02nd February 2023 about the expired 1995 Agreement on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy between RSA and USA, significant progress has been made towards the completion of the New Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.
On 3rd February 2023, the US has informed the Department that regarding the export of fuel assembly components, the amended license was signed out by the U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday January 31, 2023. Accordingly, the suspension is no longer in effect and Westinghouse is now authorized to export the subject components (The components in question are those that support Westinghouse’s manufacture of fuel assemblies in Sweden, after which the finished fuel assemblies will be shipped to South Africa for use at Koeberg).
During the recent round of negotiations on 14 and 15 February 2023 the two Parties (RSA and USA) made significant progress and committed to expedite the conclusion of the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement to ensure mutual benefit for the two countries. This is in alignment with the successful trading partnerships which has been in existence for the past five decades between the two countries.
The two Parties have committed to continue with the negotiations until a new Nuclear Cooperation Agreement is concluded. As the Department we are very hopeful this process will be concluded in the near foreseeable future.