October 31, 2017 / 1:37 PM / in 17 days

France's EDF would bid in South African nuclear tender

ABU DHABI, Oct 31 (Reuters) - French utility EDF would bid in a South African nuclear tender if the country went ahead with plans to expand its nuclear power industry, an EDF executive said on Tuesday.

South Africa is planning to build several new nuclear reactors with combined capacity of 9,600 megawatts (MW). The state’s nuclear agency Necsa said last month the country could restart the procurement process soon.

“We know that South Africa is thinking about a new nuclear, newbuild programme, we are at their disposal to help design their programme and of course respond to their demands,” EDF’s head of new nuclear, Xavier Ursat, told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

“As soon they launch something we will be there to answer,” he said on the sidelines of a nuclear conference.

Ursat said EDF had not held talks yet with South Africa’s new energy minister on this topic.

France built South Africa’s first nuclear plant at Koeberg, but Russia’s Rosatom is a strong contender for the next project. Firms from other nations are also expected to bid.

Asked about EDF’s talks with the Indian government about a project to build six Areva-designed EPR reactors in Jaitapur, south of Mumbai, Ursat said: “We have a lot of discussions with India, of course there is a long way in front of us.”

In March, Ursat had said that EDF hoped to sign a framework agreement with the Indian government this year.

Ursat said EDF was continuing talks with the Indian government about limiting vendor liability, an issue that has blocked all major deals with Western vendors for years.

“I think we made good progress in the last months, so I am quite optimistic on this topic,” he said. (Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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