Energy strategy will reserve uranium for its own reactors
Reuters reports that South Africa declined an invitation to join a U.S.-initiated multilateral nuclear supply pact because it could undermine Pretoria's plan to revive uranium enrichment on its own soil.
South Africa's no-show at a 16-nation signing ceremony for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership created concern in many developing and even industrialized states that the GNEP could deprive them of control of their atomic energy options.
South Africa is seeking foreign partners to enrich uranium as part of a strategy to expand the country's nuclear-energy program in the next few decades.
The government is in the "early stages" of talks with international companies and countries that could enable it to use centrifuges in producing low-enriched nuclear fuel, Tseliso Maqubela, the chief nuclear director of the Energy Ministry, told reporters.
"We would prefer to do enrichment with partners," Maqubela said at a briefing in Vienna, part of a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency. "The timeline that we have is going to depend on how much progress we make in attracting partners," he said.