The South Africa-based Central and Southern Africa Office of Russian State-owned nuclear energy group Rosatom has assured that it is both complying with the 21-day lockdown now in force in South Africa (to counter the Covid-19 pandemic) and continuing to support its customers. In a statement issued on April 1, the office pointed out that this was in accord with the group’s strict safety culture.
“Ensuring nuclear safety and safeguarding the lives and health of both our employees and the general public has been our first and utmost priority for decades,” it affirmed in its statement. “This does not mean that activities in Africa have come to a halt – our staff are committed to the needs of clients and are conducting a ‘business-as-usual’ approach from the safety of their homes. We are using all technological resources at our disposal to make this possible. We have always had contingency plans for any kind of emergency situations, including those related to the health of our employees.”
With regard to Rosatom’s operations in Russia, the group had brought in extra procedures at all of the country’s nuclear power plants (NPPs). These included regular health examinations for employees. These examinations were being done in close cooperation with the local authorities in the districts in which Rosatom operates NPPs.
As many as possible of the group’s personnel were working from home. All business trips had been cancelled. The company had bought hygiene-related products and personal protective equipment in bulk. Its production facilities and vehicles were being “constantly” disinfected. And it had developed extra contingency plans for a range of scenarios in which the pandemic might affect its NPP personnel.
The group was taking similar steps at its nuclear construction sites within Russia. It was also implementing all the steps required to minimise the impact of the pandemic on its supply chains and to meet all its contractual obligations to its clients.
‘[A]ll export new builds will continue despite challenges related to the spread of the Covid-19 [disease] in several countries,” it stated. “The most stringent measures have been put in place at our sites in these countries in order to ensure the safety of our personnel. Guided by the recommendations of the disease control services and governments of the countries of our operation, we are fully prepared to strengthen measures to counter the spread of this infection, including by means of quarantine, if said measures are introduced by local authorities.”