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Eskom suspends two managers over leak of nuclear documents

Leaked information could affect a court case between Eskom and Westinghouse Electric Company.

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s state-run power utility Eskom said on Wednesday it had suspended two senior managers as part of an investigation into the leaking of documents in a court case involving Koeberg, Africa’s only nuclear power plant.

The station and plant managers at Koeberg were temporarily suspended for allegedly distributing documents containing information relating to Koeberg’s production plan and its steam generator replacement, Eskom said.

The utility said the leaked information could affect a court case between Eskom and Westinghouse Electric Company, which is contesting a R4.3 billion ($323 million) contract awarded to Areva in 2014 to replace steam generators.

Westinghouse, the world’s largest nuclear fuel producer and part of Japan’s Toshiba group, had contested Eskom’s decision to award the contract to Areva, saying the process was flawed. 

Areva won the contract to replace six steam generators at the country’s only nuclear power plant, Koeberg, near Cape Town. The nuclear generators are expected to be installed by 2018.

“The potential prejudice caused to Eskom by the unauthorised actions of the suspended personnel is currently being assessed,” Eskom said in a statement.

In an unrelated incident, a drone crashed on the Koeberg site in contravention of the nuclear safety regulations and was returned to its owner without the investigation having been completed, Eskom said.

The utility said it had suspended the Koeberg safety officer so that it can investigate the incident, which it reported to the police. Koeberg is designated as a National Key Point, protected by law against sabotage as a site of national strategic importance.

($1 = R13.3020)

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