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Eskom signs Areva contract

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Eskom has signed a contract with French nuclear and renewable energy company Areva for the replacement of Koeberg power station’s steam generators, the power utility said on Saturday.

“Eskom is pleased to announce that the contract between it and Areva NP was signed on Friday, 5 September 2014,” the company said in a statement.

“Based on the lead times for the manufacture of six new steam generators, Eskom is planning for installation in 2018.

“The 2018 installation plan is also aligned to Eskom’s maintenance activities planned for the Koeberg nuclear power station.”

The timeline also ensured that all Koeberg safety issues were addressed to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

“All parties are now ready to implement the project,” Eskom said.

The signing of the contact follows Westinghouse Electric SA abandoning its bid to stop Eskom from going into business with Areva.

Eskom’s external legal representative Titus Mchunu said on Friday: “We received notice yesterday that there would be a withdrawal of the interdict.”

He was speaking at a media briefing held at Eskom’s headquarters, Megawatt Park, in Sunninghill.

The briefing was attended by the company’s senior general manager, Andrew Etzinger, acting group executive for technology and commercial, Matshelo Koko, and Neo Tsholanku, legal general manager of the parastatal.

Westinghouse had initially wanted to take the power utility to court to get an interdict to stop it from either signing a contract with Areva or implementing the contract if it had already signed it.

It also wanted Eskom to provide documents detailing how Areva had been awarded the R4 billion tender to replace steam generators at the nuclear power plant.

The High Court in Johannesburg ruled on Friday that the power utility had five days to hand over tender documents.

Westinghouse had alleged there was foul play in awarding the tender and said it had reliably learned that it had in fact won it.

But the decision was allegedly changed after Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown was told about the tender committee’s decision.

While Eskom has maintained that everything was above board with the tender processes, Westinghouse seemed confident it could find evidence in the documentation.

“The production of all relevant documentation relating to the tender will place Westinghouse in a strong position to proceed with its intended course of action to review Eskom’s decision,” Westinghouse director Ruth Kolevsohn said in a statement.

Commenting on the court case, Mchunu said Westinghouse’s evidence was all based on faceless third parties that Westinghouse claimed it could not identify.

The sources also could not give affidavits.

“The court could not accept hearsay evidence,” said Mchunu.

According to Eskom officials, an affidavit by Westinghouse suggested that Westinghouse officials met a senior Eskom official at a bar where the tender decision was discussed prior to it being officially announced.

Koko said: “They were having drinks with someone who was meant to give them good news about the tender.”

The source reportedly told Westinghouse officials that they had been “pickpocketed” out of the tender.

Tsholanku said: “The affidavit suggests that corruption had taken place so we want to report the matter so police can investigate.” SAPA

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