Koeberg nuclear power station is well equipped to handle the energy plant’s nuclear waste, according to a KPMG study.
The recent study by KPMG Services on the socio-economic impact of the Koeberg nuclear power station in the Western Cape and South Africa from 2012 to 2025, says the plant is well equipped to handle the safety regulations it has operated for more than 33 years.
Lullu Krugel, director and chief economist at KPMG, said electricity was a key input for the majority of products and processes in South Africa’s economy, making Koeberg a direct contributor to economic growth, both in the Western Cape and in the rest of the country.
Krugel said Koeberg stimulated economic activity in South Africa estimated at R53.3 billion between 2012 and 2016.
“The methodology which KPMG employed to conduct this review, is based on internationally accepted standards,” Krugel said, “with detailed information supplied by Eskom and official statistics.”
The report said the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) oversaw the safe operation of nuclear installations at Koeberg and Vaalputs, the nuclear disposal site in the Northern Cape.
It said the NNR was committed to protecting people, property and the environment against any nuclear damage by establishing safety standards and regulatory practices and prescribes protective measures, such as frequent public safety forums.
According to the report, low-level nuclear waste is compressed into sealed and marked steel drums at Koeberg, before it is transported to Vaalputs in specially designed trucks for disposal in 10m-deep trenches.
About 500 steel drums arrive each year.
Intermediate-level waste is then solidified by mixing it with a cement mixture which is poured into concrete drums.
The drums are then transported from Koeberg to Vaalputs in specially designed trucks for disposal.
According to the report, the government is considering the addition of nuclear capacity as an option to add up to 9600MW to the national grid by 2030 in tranches that are affordable.
This highlights Koeberg’s role in the South African economy at present and going forward, and provides the knowledge base to expand the country’s nuclear capacity through new plants.
It has been more than a decade since the accident, but Vincent Mashinini can’t forget the moment his underground world collapsed.
His right leg still bears the scars from the rocks that fell and temporarily pinned him underground, his livelihood nearly becoming a death trap.
Mashinini spent 15 years as a small-scale illegal miner, toiling in the abandoned coal mines that pockmark Ermelo and the surrounding Mpumalanga countryside. Along with agriculture and tourism, coal mining sustains the town’s economy as it feeds the nearby power stations generating some of the country’s electricity.
“We’ve lost brothers and sisters and mothers,” Mashinini said. “But there is no employment. If you want to put food on the table, you must come here.”
The traditional coal majors that have dominated the sector for decades are looking to leave South Africa as uncertainty surrounds Eskom contracts and the world slowly moves away from fossil fuels. As a result, the country’s coal industry is welcoming more and more junior miners who rarely complete environmental or social rehabilitation, causing a proliferation of abandoned mines around towns such as Ermelo.
Xavier Prevost, a senior coal analyst with the mining consulting company XMP Consulting, said Eskom’s policies of signing long-term contracts and buying only from 51 percent black-owned companies were pushing large mining houses away.
“Most of the majors are not investing in coal due to the current government politics. Another reason for their retreat is their inability to negotiate new agreements with Eskom,” Prevost said, adding that many of Eskom’s contracts with large miners would expire by 2020.
BHP Billiton spun off its South African coal and other lower-value assets to South32 in 2015. Anglo American is also in the process of disposing of “lower-margin, shorter-life assets”, including some South African coal, the company’s media team said in a statement sent to The Star.
“In terms of Anglo American’s Eskom-tied mines, the company has initiated a process to exit its Eskom-tied mines (Kriel, New Denmark and New Vaal). We believe these assets would be better served under new ownership that can provide more focused capital and management to continue to create value,” the statement said.
The growth of alternative energy sources has also affected South African coal by shrinking certain export markets.
The US’s Energy Information Administration predicts renewable energy production will increase worldwide from 22 to 29% between 2012 and 2040. The predictions see coal concurrently falling from 40 to 29%.
In many cases, new solar and wind projects are cheaper than coal. South Africa, the world’s sixth largest coal exporter, was beginning to feel the impact of this trend, Prevost said.
“Environmentalists have affected coal heavily. The biggest example is China. The change in policy in China has caused havoc in coal. China, the largest importer of coal in the world, suddenly changed its policies and is stopping importing,” Prevost said.
The price of coal rose from less than R300 per ton in 2000 to more than R2000 a ton in 2008, which in part caused a surge in applications for mining and prospecting rights. The coal price is now down at least 40% from its peak, and smaller miners who entered the industry looking for a quick profit have in some cases abandoned their operations.
Several Ermelo coal operations where Mashinini once laboured were abandoned during this period. Owned by Golfview Mining, a subsidiary of the Anker group based in the Netherlands, the sites are worked by small-scale miners, while unrehabilitated waste dumps and remnants of mining infrastructure sit derelict.
One partially rehabilitated portion lies in the centre of Johan Vos’s farm. “They’re getting away with murder,” Vos said of Golfview, which rented his land and guaranteed rehabilitation.
“I didn’t sell the land to them because they were just going to mine that one piece. They mine the piece, they rehabilitate and then I can go on. That was the whole idea. It didn’t happen,” Vos said.
Several years after taking a plea agreement and fine for its environmental practices, Golfview submitted a business rescue plan in 2015.
The company’s plan estimates the cost of rehabilitation at R29 million but reveals that only R5m is held in trust funds specifically for that purpose. Additionally, at the time the plan was submitted, the company owned more than R622m in liabilities, meaning additional funds for rehabilitation would be extraordinarily difficult to procure.
With no legal power to deny mining on his property, Vos has a second coal mine on his farm that feeds the nearby Camden power station.
He has not seen any rehabilitation at a third mine since operations abruptly halted six months ago, while a fourth mine is set to begin operations on his property, as contract details are being finalised.
Only 10 years ago, six companies accounted for 90% of South Africa’s production and eight collieries mined more than 60% of the country’s coal. While 93 coal mines produced all of South Africa’s coal in 2016, that number increased 59%, to 148 mines, by 2016. Production, however, increased by only about 10%, indicative of a trend towards smaller mines.
But with smaller mines and shorter lifespans, mining companies are targeting new areas for coal mining.
Although some grasslands and wetlands in the Mpumalanga Highveld have gained legal protection in recent years, companies continue to lodge mining applications. More than 60% of Mpumalanga falls under applications for rights to either mine or prospect.
According to the Department of Environmental Affairs, by the end of 2013, prospecting rights already covered 25.4% of Mpumalanga’s wetlands, 32.2% of its freshwater ecosystem priority areas and 41.8% of its grasslands.
Documents emerged last month showing that the ministers of environmental affairs and of minerals and energy had signed off on a coal mine within the Mabola Protected Environment near Wakkerstroom, part of a strategic water source area in Mpumalanga.
Koos Pretorius, director of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, said high-potential agricultural land often coincided with coal deposits, and the mining industry encroaching on these lands was creating concerns for food security.
“The soil gets destroyed from the opencast mining, and much of it is opencast. The reason for that is simple. If you do an underground mine you leave roughly 35 to 40% of the mine, so they tend to do as much opencast as possible,” Pretorius said.
Recent periods of drought and sporadic weather patterns, likely attributable to climate change, have also had an impact on agriculture.
It is estimated that South Africa’s operational and abandoned coal mines together can release greenhouse gases equalling the warming effect of more than 4 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, roughly the same as consuming 1.8 billion litres of petrol.
Proper rehabilitation could minimise the release of these gases.
The Star recently obtained documents from the Department of Mineral Resources that shed light on the money held in financial provisions for rehabilitation. As of 2015, R45bn was held around the country in these funds.
While Mpumalanga and Limpopo – the country’s two most important coal mining provinces – refused to hand over their data, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State – two other provinces with coal mines – did release theirs.
Free State holds more than R5bn in financial provisions for rehabilitation, but the largest 5% of funds accounts for 99% of the money.
This means smaller operations, which are more likely to close or be abandoned than large sites, have an average of less than R60 000 in their funds.
KwaZulu-Natal is a similar story, with the largest 5% of funds holding 80% of the money.
Thulani Mnisi is a ward councillor in the Wesselton township in Ermelo. With so many residents living in poverty in the township and surrounding informal settlements, he said, mining could be tolerated if it brought jobs and some semblance of environmental responsibility.
Instead, the Imbabala Coal Mine sits abandoned and adjacent to the township.
Mine tunnels extend under the community, and illegal miners chip away at the underground pillars supporting the mine. Numerous people have died during cave-ins. “Those miners, after they mined, they just left the place like that,” Mnisi said.
Eskom and Transnet need to borrow billions more than anticipated in 2016, National Treasury revealed in its 2017 Budget Review on Wednesday.
Even as Eskom’s financial performance improved in 2015/16 as a result of a 12.7% tariff hike and a revenue increase by R10.5-billion to R161-billion, it still required borrowings for its new build and electrification projects.
In addition, Transnet grew revenues by 1.7% to R62.2-billion in 2015/16. While it has spent R122.4-billion on capital expenditure in the last five years, it plans capital investments of R273-billion in the next seven years, Treasury said.
These massive expenditure projects mean the entities take up the biggest share of government’s borrowings.
“In 2016/17 it (borrowing) will amount to R254.4-billion, or 5.8% of GDP,” it said. “This is R32.8-billion more than was projected in the 2016 Budget, reflecting a larger consolidated budget deficit and higher borrowing estimates by State-owned companies – primarily Eskom and Transnet.”
In 2015/16, borrowing by the six largest State-owned companies – the Airports Company of South Africa, Eskom, Sanral, SAA, the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority and Transnet – reached R128-billion.
Eskom and Transnet accounted for 74% of the total, Treasury explained.
Eskom increased planned borrowings in 2016/17 increased from R46.8-billion to R68.5-billion. “The increase results from Eskom’s revised assumptions of cost savings and lower-than anticipated tariffs during the current price determination period,” it said.
Over the next seven years, Transnet plans capital investments of R273-billion, to be funded by earnings and borrowings against its balance sheet, it said.
Foreign debt funding was lower than estimated, reaching R29.5-billion compared with an expected R42.6-billion.
“The six companies project aggregate borrowing of R102.6-billion in 2016/17 and R307.1-billion between 2017/18 and 2019/20.
“Gross foreign borrowings are expected to account for the majority of total funding over the medium term, largely as a result of Eskom’s efforts to obtain more developmental funding from multilateral lenders.”
In 2016, Eskom concluded a deal with the China Development Bank to get a $500-million loan facility.
However, Eskom is likely to need additional equity injections in the coming three to four years, according to Nomura emerging market economist Peter Montalto. “Its last equity injections stabilised ratios at very low levels, but are still a constraint,” he said in December. “Nuclear generation would severely leverage Eskom’s balance sheet without additional equity injections.”
Referring to the “injection”, Treasury said the R23-billion equity injection and the conversion of the R60-billion subordinated loan to equity helped shored up Eskom’s balance sheet.
“State-owned companies are responsible for much of the infrastructure on which the economy relies,” Treasury said. “Eskom, Transnet and … Sanral account for about 42% of public-sector capital formation.”
“Over the past year, Eskom continued its capital investment programme – bringing new generating capacity to the electricity grid – and maintained steady power supply. Transnet continued to invest in getting more freight from road to rail.”
Meanwhile, contingent liability exposure to independent power producers (IPPs) is expected to decrease in 2019/20.
“Government has committed to procure up to R200-billion in renewable energy from IPPs,” Treasury said. “As at March 2017, exposure to IPPs – which represents the value of signed projects – is expected to amount to R125.8-billion. Exposure is expected to decline to R104.1 billion in 2019/20.”
Government began to categorise power-purchase agreements between Eskom and IPPs as contingent liabilities in 2016.
“These liabilities can materialise in two ways. If Eskom runs short of cash and is unable to buy power as stipulated in the power-purchase agreement, government will have to loan the utility money to honour its obligations.
“If government terminates power-purchase agreements because it is unable to fund Eskom, or there is a change in legislation or policy, government would also be liable. Both outcomes are unlikely.”
It said Eskom is expected to use R43.6-billion of its guarantee in 2016/17 and R22-billion annually over the medium term.
It said SAA has used R3.5-billion of a R4.7-billion going-concern guarantee, with the remainder likely to be used in 2017/18.
As part of its debt collection efforts, State-owned Eskom on Wednesday started interruptions of bulk electricity supply to some defaulting municipalities in North West and the Northern Cape.
The municipalities of Naledi, Lekwa-Teemane and Kgetlengrivier, in North West, as well as the Ubuntu and Renosterberg municipalities, in the Northern Cape, will have their supply interrupted.
Power supply will be cut between 06:00 and 08:00 and 17:00 and 19:30 during weekdays and between 08:30 and 11:00 and 15:00 and 17:30 on weekends.
Many defaulting municipalities that were set to have their power cut from this month have made payments to Eskom or reached payment plans with the utility.
Eskom on Tuesday reported that 21 of the 34 identified municipalities scheduled for supply interruptions during January had met its requirements. As a result, these municipalities have not had their supply interruptions suspended. This includes the Madibeng and Maquassi Hills municipalities in North West.
“We are immensely encouraged by the kind of response we are witnessing presently and would like to thank all the municipalities that have made an effort to pay their accounts, and committed to their payment agreements,” said Eskom interim CEO Matshela Koko.
Eskom will monitor the strict adherence to the payment plans and the payment of current accounts of these municipalities and any defaults will result in the interruption of supply without further notice.
Municipal customers are encouraged to engage with their supply authorities to get updated information on their municipality’s arrears situation.
State-owned Eskom earlier this week commissioned its 765 kV Kappa–Sterrekus transmission line, connecting the Western Cape to the network over and above the 400 kV network.
The 765 kV is one of the highest voltages used for electricity transfer in the world.
This line connects Sterrekus’s 765 kV substation through the 765 kV network to the north. The substation is equipped with the latest switchgear and protection schemes and will be the new hub for the transmission western grid, as it connects to Koeberg and other major substations in the Peninsula.
The 400 kV network to the Western Cape was established in 1974 with only two lines from the North to the Western Cape. Subsequent to that, a third and a fourth in-feed were established.
This is the first major change to the transmission networksince 1974, giving the Western Cape a much-needed secure supply from the major power stations in Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
The line between Kappa near Touwsrivier and Sterrekus posed severe challenges to the construction teams, as entry to some of the mountainous areas could only be achieved by helicopter. Construction took place mostly by hand.
“It was also difficult to obtain the servitude as the line had to cross the Ceres and Tulbagh valleys and required extensive public and stakeholder engagement,” the utility said in a statement.
Power utility Eskom is making progress with the roll-out of smart electricity meters in Sandton and Midrand, with 5 932 meters installed in the first three months of this year.
Eskom has made a strategic decision to convert all of its conventionally billed customers to prepaid meters, a project it believes will support the utility’s financial stability efforts. Customers will also benefit from improved reliability, reduction of public safety incidents, better management of energy consumption and the elimination of billing errors. Eskom plans to have smart meters installed at the premises of all 32 885 of its domestic customers in Sandton and Midrand by the end of the 2016/17 financial year.
The conversion of the smart meters to prepaid will resume in July, once Eskom has upgraded its online vending system. Meanwhile, Eskom has installed more than 40 000 split prepaid meters in Soweto, 13 000 of which have been converted to prepaid mode. The utility has already improved its revenue collection in Soweto by R33.63-million, as a result of the installation of the split prepaid meters.
PERTH (miningweekly.com) – South Africa-focused Sunbird Energy has signed a conditional agreement with a South African consortium to divest of its noncash assets for A$8.5-million. The assets include a 74% interest in the Mopane, Springbok Flats and Springbok Flat West coal-bed methane projects, as well as its 76% interest in the offshore Ibhubesi gas project.
The Ibhubesi gas field, off the Northern Cape coast, is South Africa’s largest undeveloped gas field with about 540-billion cubic feet of gas. National oil company PetroSA is Sunbird’s joint venture partner in the project. In 2015, Sunbird signed a gas sales agreement term sheet with utilities provider Eskom for the supply of 30-billion cubic feet a year of gas for up to 15 years, with Sunbird at the time describing the agreement as a major step towards the commercialisation of the Ibhubesi gas field. Sunbird told shareholders on Monday that the conditional agreement with the South African consortium, which consisted of major shareholders and debt holders, included a cash consideration of A$1-million, the buy-back and cancellation of 55-million existing Sunbird shares and the assignment of Sunbird’s A$4.8-million outstanding debt to the purchaser.
The transaction was subject to a number of conditions, including shareholder approval. A general meeting of Sunbird shareholders would be called in late May. The transaction with the privately-held consortium comes months after an indicative takeover proposal from Glendal Power and Industries for Sunbird was withdrawn. Glendal in July last year offered Sunbird shareholders A$0.18 a share for their holding in the company, valuing Sunbird at around A$25-million. The offer was withdrawn in December.
JOHANNESBURG – According to the Water Efficiency Report released by ActionAid South Africa on Tuesday, big business should be taking the lead in helping to deal with the country’s water crisis. Because of the threat that water scarcity problems pose to both the social and economic stability of the republic, it urges industry to become involved, at least as much as government, in addressing the issue.
Perhaps there is even a space for a water innovation industry to sprout, much as the renewable energy industry has burgeoned in the face of policy uncertainty and pressing need.
“Companies, whether they are big, small or medium, are all going to be affected by the water crisis one way or another,” says water expert Anthony Thurton, who contributed to the report. “Some of them are going to be affected negatively and they’re going to either ignore it – in which case they will become victims of the situation – and others are going to be very progressive and very positive about it, and they are going to change their business model and tailor it to the new reality.”
Thurton is also the director of water technology company Gurumanzi, which provides ‘uninterrupted water supply solutions’ that address the water risk problem much like an uninterrupted power supply eases concerns over load-shedding and other power cuts. It provides a back-up water reserve that lasts up to 48 hours, that can be rented by households, schools, hospitals, and even residential or business estates.
“There are many examples of solutions that companies are working on and they are all disrupters, or game changers in their own right,” says Thurton, referring to one company that is in the process of developing a solution that treats borehole water to improve its quality.
Privatisation is controversial
Johann Boonzaaier is the chief executive manager of the Impala Water Users Association, which owns a dam in KwaZulu-Natal in the only area that has not been affected by the drought because Impala was able to sell water to the municipality. The dam is about the same size as Hartbeespoort Dam and, according to Boonzaaier, would cost around R600 million to build at today’s prices.
But he says privatising water is a controversial topic because access to water is a basic human right. He believes there is much to be done with regard to regulations in such a scenario. He points out how Eskom’s price increases have had a dire impact on the economy and that this would be magnified if the price of water were to rise to match its scarcity.
“The danger of that is that many peoples’ livelihood depends on that water,” says Boonzaaier, “and if you get industries that can pay the highest price, then what will happen to the majority of farmers who farm for subsistence and cannot afford to pay that price?”
The report also notes that making agricultural irrigation systems more efficient could save up to 40% of current water use.
“Another question is, what is the value of water? For us, the value of the water use is the total cost of maintaining the resource. But in the Western Cape, the price is four times what ours is. So how do you decide? You must remember that, you can get along without food for a while, but if you go two days without water you’re bound to perish.”
Thurton says the National Water Act and the Water Services Act are under review, and that there is a drive to have them amalgamated into one piece of legislation to address the changes that are necessary to improve water efficiency. One of the suggested changes would see residential estates being regarded as water service providers: they buy bulk water from the local authority and distribute it to their users.
South Africans use 235 litres of water per day, while an average world citizen uses 173 litres of water per day. If municipalities could reduce the per capita consumption to the world average, the demand-supply gap would be reduced by almost half – SA Water Efficiency Report 2016
“In effect, what that will do is it will privatise a certain portion of the value chain, and that will open up a whole new way of doing things… On the one hand it presents new business opportunities but on the other it is completely uncharted territory,” Thurton says.
Providing water is government’s responsibility
The report states that, while there are already acute water shortages in 6 500 rural communities, the problem will spread to the metropolitan areas. It states that, by 2030 there will be a 17% supply deficit, with the large cities being the worst affected.
“Cape Town, which falls within the Berg Water Management Area, will need to close a gap of about 28% to meet demand,” reads the report.
But Emily Craven from ActionAid South Africa says the intention of the report is not to start a dialogue on privatisation, but rather how to eradicate the inefficiencies within the country’s water eco-system. In some cases, this would lead to the companies that are directly responsible for those inefficiencies benefiting financially from perpetuating them.
Says Craven: “It would be a bit worrying if the first response from a report like this is a debate on water privatisation. Ultimately, it is government’s responsibility to ensure that people have access to clean, healthy water. That said, there is space for technology to be used to improve the system… We have seen it where mines have water purification plants that allow them to put water back into the system… What worries us is when the monetary value is put into the equation. Because mines are the biggest polluters of the water, essentially what you would have is municipalities buying their own water from the mines that polluted it in the first place”.
Pretoria — The R5 billion Bokpoort concentrated solar plant (CSP) has officially been launched in Groblershoop, Northern Cape.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies welcomed the major investment by ACWA Power, a Saudi Arabian company.
“[The] project instils confidence in government’s long term infrastructure roll out, providing energy access, contributing to economic, community and sustainable development,” he said at the launch of the plant on Monday.
Minister Davies was joined at the launch by Saudi Arabian Trade and Commerce Minister, Dr Tawfiq Al Rabiah, who is also in South Africa for the 7th session of the South Africa-Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission (JEC).
The 50 MW Bokpoort plant forms part of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Program (REIPPP).
“This project marks a key milestone in South Africa’s electricity supply security and CO2 reduction. With its record 9.3 hours thermal energy storage capacity, the Bokpoort CSP project will provide electricity to approximately 21 000 households during the day as well as night time and save approximately 230 000 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions during every year of operation,” said Minister Davies.
Within five years, the REIPPP has attracted R194 billion of investment and is fast becoming a global model and blue print for other countries, providing policy certainty and transparency.
The Minister said the project has a major socio-economic development impact for the Northern Cape and South Africa. Over R2.4 billion was spent on local content, with 40% of the Bokpoort plant being sourced and manufactured locally. This includes the manufacturing and assembly of solar field collector steel structures and the supply of piping and cables.
During construction peak time, more than 1 200 people worked on site, while 70 permanent jobs have been created to operate and maintain the plant. The plant was constructed over 30 months.
“The operation of the plant will provide electricity to the Eskom grid to power communities and industry by ensuring a reliable source of renewable energy and increasing power supply.”
The Minister thanked the chairperson of ACWA Power, Mohamed Abunayyan, for his confidence to invest in South Africa.
ACWA Power aims to expand its Southern African portfolio to 5 000 MW by 2025. The group has identified South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana as key growth markets in the region.
“To our visitors from Saudi Arabia, South Africa is indeed open for business. Investors enjoy robust protection in South Africa, comparable to the highest international standard,” said Minister Davies.
South Africa should optimise its funding model in the procurement of its 9 600 MW nuclear build programme to ensure cheaper electricity costs, according to Rosatom’s Nikolay Drosdov on Wednesday. Drosdov, director of international business for Rosatom, told Fin24 that South Africa should “optimise the model to decrease the price of electricity, because … the proportion between investments and loans depends on the … levelised cost of electricity”.“You have to pay interest rates from your price of electricity if you’re using a lot of debt money,” he said on the sidelines of the Nuclear Africa conference. “We can help to optimise the model, but it’s also the subject of commercial negotiations.” The Department of Energy will release its Request for Proposals by the end of March, after a year-long process of signing up vendor countries through inter-governmental agreements regarding the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
To speed up the programme, South Africa should follow the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) procurement model, which would be signed by the existing state-owned company (Eskom) or a newly created company, according to Drosdov. “This company shall sign an EPC contract … with the scope closed to a turnkey base with one of the global nuclear vendor selected based on the competitive and transparent procedure during the procurement process,” he said. “In nuclear, we have different financial models that you can invest some money in the equity, you can attract some money from the market, from the government resources, from export credit agencies/banks (entities that provide government-backed loans),” he said. While many economists have spoken about the value add to South Africa’s economy with large nuclear localisation, Drosdov said the exact size will depend on the interest local business has for the nuclear procurement programme.
“If local business is interested to participate in the nuclear programme, we can increase it (localisation),” he said. “If not, we can supply 100% by our sources, but economically it’s not efficient. We are trying to use local partners … (due to) lower costs, but it’s the subject for negotiation.” “What could be a solution is a global partnership,” he said. “For example, you would take a Russian nuclear island (the heart of the nuclear plant) and we will integrate your local competencies and local technologies.” “We can have for example Russian/South African technology that can be exported to other countries in Africa.” Several media outlets challenged Drosdov this week over the programme, asking him whether a secret deal had been signed with South Africa. Fin24 has on numerous occasions asked this question to Rosatom officials including Drosdov, with the usual reaction that no such deal had been signed.