Opposition worried about nuclear deal

OPPOSITION parties say they are concerned that a French nuclear giant will lobby President Jacob Zuma to sign a R1trillion deal when he visits France in two weeks' time.

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoane-Mashabane told the media last week that discussions on nuclear energy were on the agenda for Zuma's trip to France on March 2 and 3.

Yesterday, Cope called for the details of the trip to be made public. "We are concerned about who might accompany Zuma on this trip because of last weekend's disclosure that his son Duduzane and the Guptas are set to benefit from a R550billion rail deal with a Chinese company," Cope MP Phillip Dexter said.

"We don't have fears about whether or not there should be a nuclear programme, but need to know how much it will cost," Dexter said.

Independent Democrats MP Lance Greyling said government would pay Areva about R1trillion if it went ahead and built four nuclear reactors. "Areva is determined to secure the contract to mask its massive failings in its nuclear build programme in Finland. There, costs have spiralled out of control and deadlines have been missed by several years. The potential for another Arms Deal scandal is ripe, with sums of money that are 10 times that amount," Greyling said.

Neither the Presidency nor the Department of International Relations and Co-operation would confirm or deny that Zuma would meet Areva. Zuma's spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the president's programme had not been finalised yet.

International Relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela said: "We can't disclose meetings like that because the programme may change. I can't say he is not going to meet them ..."

Areva has already lobbied Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Energy, who visited Areva's nuclear plants last year.

"Areva indicated they have a funding model for government. It is just a phone call away and they would be pleased to construct six nuclear stations," DA MP David Ross told the portfolio committee last month.