US Corporation Westinghouse said it launched legal action to appeal against Eskom’s award of a major contract for the Koeberg nuclear power station to French rival Areva. (Eskom is the South African public utility and the operator of Koeberg nuclear station.)
Westinghouse said in a statement it had filed the request at the Johannesburg High Court, asking it to urgently suspend execution of the contract to procure six replacement steam generators for Koeberg from Areva.
The statement, dated Wednesday, also asked the court “to order Eskom to provide Westinghouse with the relevant documentation supporting the Eskom decision on August 15 to reject the Westinghouse offer and award a contract to Areva for this project”.
Further complicating the situation is the involvement of the U.S. government:
The US embassy in Pretoria registered its concern about the contract on Wednesday.
“Westinghouse has conveyed to us their deep concerns over the conduct of the tendering process to upgrade the Koeberg nuclear power plant and their intention to pursue legal remediation,” the embassy said in a statement.
“In this case, the US Embassy has been in touch with the South African government at the appropriate level to remind the government that we are aware of Westinghouse’s concerns and interested in seeing them fairly and expeditiously addressed.
“We believe such actions can send an important signal about the quality of the investment climate in a country. We will continue to closely monitor this case; we expect fair treatment of our companies under South African law,” the embassy statement said.