South Africa: Another Bell Pottinger-Style Nuclear Charm Offensive Planned for South Africa

analysis

Brace yourselves for a full-frontal, paid-for nuclear PR charm offensive as 'a big Russian state-run energy corporation' turns to private spin companies seeking African and South African partners to sweeten the deal.

By now it is no secret that the government plans to add 2,500MW of nuclear power to the country's energy mix in 2030. Just the other day, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) invited comment on the plan.

Writing in Daily Maverick in July 2020, Dirk Knoesen, Emeritus Professor in Physics, and Director of the Nanoscience Platform at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Senior Professor Leslie Petrik, of the Department of Chemistry, warned that "the feasibility of new generation nuclear reactions providing energy safely in the near future is slim".

The month before, in June, Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, justified the issuing of a renewed request for information (RFI) on the nuclear build and that it would follow "robust funding options".

Now a Russia-based communications outfit, Creative Project Agency, has put out a call to South African partners to mount a media roadshow including print, online and TV and crafted around a mysterious "independent speaker" who will be punting...

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