The accord was signed by French Minister for Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius and South Africa’s Energy Minister Joematt Pettersson on the opening day of the first ever world nuclear trade fair at Le Bourget near Paris.
In the coming years South Africa hopes to buy up to eight new reactors to complement the existing reactor in Koeberg in southern South Africa.
As well as the French giant Areva, other companies are also in competition for this South African business, for example Russia’s Rosatom.
Areva is currently building a third generation EPR nuclear reactor in China, as well as in France and in Finland, where completion of construction is delayed and over-budget.
An Areva EPR reactor is also to be built at Hinckley Point in Britain, after the European Commission gave the project the green light last week.
In September, Areva announced the signing of a contract for around 300 million euros with the South African public electricity company Eskom, to replace the vapour generators at the Koeberg plant.
Areva is currently in difficulties and aims to sell 10 EPRs in the next couple of years.