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Gigaba met World Bank to discuss funding for nuclear plan via Sunday Times

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba met with representatives of the World Bank last week to discuss financing for development of a nuclear power program in the country, according to two people familiar with the meeting.

Gigaba met with the bank on Nov.3 to discuss funding options available to state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. for the program, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is not public. South African Airways, the national airline that is struggling to meet debt obligations, was also discussed at the meeting, said one of the people.

Eskom last year began a process to add 9,600 megawatts of nuclear power capacity beyond its single existing plant by issuing a request for information from vendors. There were 38 responses to the notice, Kelvin Kemm, chairman of the South African Nuclear Energy Corp., told lawmakers in Cape Town on Tuesday.

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The World Bank has previously supported energy projects through Eskom. However, an inspection panel from the organization in 2012 found instances of non-compliance in its award of a $3.75 billion loan to the utility for construction of the Medupi coal-fired power plant.The impacts and risks for other local water users weren’t properly considered and the project would place strain on water resources in an area already suffering from scarcity, it said at the time.

The discussions between Gigaba and the World Bank also included options to assist South African Airways, according to one of the people.

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