SkyscraperCity banner
1 - 20 of 35 Posts

2,633 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
SA's nuclear plans on track
Jun 18 2008 8:12AM

Brendan Ryan

Johannesburg - Nuclear energy offers one of the few solutions to the world's predicament of cutting carbon dioxide emissions in half while doubling energy production to cater for the growth of the developing world.
That's the view of Bertrand Barré, chairperson of the International Nuclear Energy Academy and scientific adviser to French nuclear firm Areva which is one of the bidders to supply new nuclear power stations to Eskom.

Addressing a business breakfast in Johannesburg, Barré said the energy sector stood at a crossroads between the needs of development and the constraints of the environment.

He said the key problem was that the world currently sourced 80% of its energy needs from fossil fuels in the form of oil, gas and coal.

Barré highlighted the surging demand for coal - in particular from China - which has been triggered by rising energy demands over the past five years. Chinese annual coal production has jumped from one billion tonnes in 2000 to current levels around 2.4bn t.

"Coal is back and that is extremely damaging for the environment which is why CCS (carbon containment systems) must be implemented," he said.

Barré said three broad measures could provide the solution. These were to reduce energy demand, particularly in the developed countries; generate more power without creating carbon dioxide which meant using more nuclear power and alternative sources such as wind power and to "sequester" the carbon dioxide emitted from coal and gas-fired stations through CCS.

He said that nuclear was the most economic of the various generation options when it came to large, "base load" power stations although this was not the case when it came to meeting "peaking power" demands.

Turning to South Africa, Barré said the country's proposed nuclear programme was "ambitious" but broad comparisons could be drawn with the situation in France in the 1950s.

The SA government last year announced it intended increasing the amount of power generated from nuclear sources to 20 000MW by 2025 from the current level of 18 00MW generated from the Koeberg station.

In the 1950s, France sourced 75% of its energy from coal while South Africa currently gets 95% of its energy from coal.

According to Barré, France now gets one third of its energy requirements from nuclear, one third from oil and one third from other sources.

Barré said: "My advice would be pick a good design for your next nuclear reactor and then standardise on it for the construction of the other plants to be built."

He estimated that, starting from scratch, it would take about 10 years to bring a new nuclear power station online, of which some three years would be needed for site preparation.

Eskom has already started work on possible sites for additional nuclear reactors and hasso far selected four, all situated on the coast.

Two of them are in the Northern Cape, one is the Western Cape and the fourth is in the Eastern Cape.

4,125 Posts
Eskom's "disaster" decision
Tue, 18 Aug 2009 09:12

[] -- ESKOM's decision last December not to go ahead with the country’s next nuclear power station was a “disaster in my view” according to former Eskom CEO Ian McRae.

McRae, who was CEO of Eskom from 1985 to 1994 and chief executive of the National Energy Regulator (NER) from 1995 to 1997, told Miningmx he believed a new nuclear plant was the best option for providing more power to the Western Cape.

He also rejected the reason given by Eskom and the Government for not awarding the nuclear contract last year which was that the country could not afford it.

“They should not have deferred that nuclear plant. Instead, they should have done their damndest to get the financing in place to make it happen.

“The adjudication of the tenders from Areva and Westinghouse also took into consideration the financial packages available as well as the technical aspects.

“I believe Eskom could have got a reasonable financial package from the suppliers of the nuclear equipment if they had negotiated project finance deals with them. It was a brilliant opportunity and I don’t think we tried hard enough.”

McRae’s comments are backed up by observations from energy industry sources who said Areva and Westinghouse would have arranged most of the finance because they were so keen to get the business.

They point out the action of Eskom and the SA government in deferring the nuclear station makes little sense given that government still maintains its strategy is to source more power from nuclear stations.

McRae believes it is crucial that government delivers on this strategy given the global pressures that are building up on large producers of carbon dioxide emissions such as South Africa because of its overwhelming dependence on burning coal to generate electricity.

“ The government says it wants to go nuclear but we are not seeing it. Instead, it looks like the nuclear plans have gone on the back burner,” he commented.

Turning to the subject of independent power producers (IPPs) McRae said this had been a critical factor in the creation of the country’s power crisis and the current situation reflected the lack of leadership in dealing with it.

He pointed out the SA government had announced its intention to source more power from IPPs in 1998, yet 11 years later Eskom was still not in a position to be able to sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) with an IPP.

As a result IPP projects controlled by companies like CIC Energy and Ipsa Plc are either stalled or in limbo as Eskom debates with government over how power purchases from IPPs should be funded.

“I am not anti-IPPs and I accept I may not know all the ins and outs but we simply have not got our act together here,” McRae commented.

In an interview in the August edition of electronic newsletter EE-News, McRae said one of the main reasons given by the SA government for halting Eskom’s generation plan in 1998 was that it wanted to give IPPs greater access to SA’s electricity supply industry.

He told EE-News, “That was not, in itself, the fault – the fault was in stopping Eskom from proceeding before they had an idea of what response they would have from IPPs, thus placing South African consumers at risk.

“The government failed to recognise that IPPs would not rush into South Africa to compete with Eskom’s large, low-cost, coal-fired stations.

“There was also a lack of understanding of the industry dynamics in that the output of IPPs under the current system is determined by the grid which is owned by Eskom.

“Some guarantee of output would have to be given to the IPPs and this was not clearly laid down. The government let users of electricity in South Africa down badly in making this decision.”

“The government has also failed to give answers to questions I raised way back when I was chief executive of the NER, namely ‘what kind of industry do we want for South Africa? A privatised industry; or a government-owned vertically integrated industry or something in between - a quasi privatised industry?

“As a result, the industry has failed to restructure.”

28,982 Posts
Phase 1: 2008 -2010

  • Maintain and enhance current national nuclear infrastructure
  • Continue research into advanced nuclear energy systems
  • Accelerate skills development initiatives in line with expected expansion including increased capacity at institutions of higher learning
Phase 2: 2011-2015

  • Demonstration of advanced nuclear energy systems
  • Initiate localisationof nuclear equipment and component manufacturing-construction of heavy machinery infrastructure
  • Build capacity for nuclear technology transfer

1,331 Posts
State nuclear company hopes to emerge as SA's localisation lynchpin
By: Keith Campbell, 21st August 2009
South Africa's PBMR Company and the Nuclear Industries Association of South Africa (Niasa) hope that the local development of the fourth-generation high- temperature gas-cooled pebble-bed modular reactor (PBMR), and national electricity supplier Eskom's intention to also build advanced third-generation pressure water reactors (PWRs), will result in the creation of a South African nuclear industry, which will supply both the international and local markets.

"Our strategic objective with localisation is to assist in the building of a local nuclear industry and so create jobs, improve skills, and have a beneficial impact on the whole of South African industry, beyond just the nuclear sector," says PBMR marketing and localisation manager, and Niasa corporate secretary, Gert Claassen.

"And also create a competitive industry that can be export orientated, towards the global nuclear industry, which is growing."

This intention is being supported by the PBMR Company's reorientation, which is now under way. The company is seeking to become South Africa's nuclear engineering and design authority, as well as developing the PBMR.
"We now have a clear understanding of the role the company should play in the larger nuclear industry, and the skills that we have," affirms PBMR CEO Jaco Kriek. "There is a bigger role for us as a company."
South Africa's National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) has, following what has become international practice, agreed to split the licensing process for the PBMR into two: design and construction. As a result, the design will be approved and licensed separately from construction, and the PBMR Company can be certified as the design authority.

"PBMR will be the home of the technology," Kriek elucidates. "We will design the reactor, the fuel and the fuel plant, and license these designs with the regulators. Then, we will get involved with suppliers to manufacture the components, especially the nuclear island (the reactor and its systems, including containment), the steam generator, and the steam turbine. These are the key elements. We will then provide services to the PBMR operators, just as Areva does to Eskom for Koeberg." (Koeberg is South Africa's only nuclear power station, and comprises two second-generation PWRs).

"The ideal is that South Africa will, one day, build its own nuclear reactors," he states. "For example, South Korea created an entity to be the design authority for nuclear reactors and, so, became self-sufficient in design and manufacture. We need to work out the localisation model that is appropriate for us. Different countries have different models. Indeed, the model may evolve from the first reactor to the second, and so on. It all depends on how much will be done by local companies."

Claassen warns that localisation is a long-term goal and will be coupled with the new build programmes of both PBMR and Eskom. "But, ideally, within the next ten years, we should have an industry that can contribute to the local programmes and export some nuclear components. We should then continue to expand and develop beyond that." He highlights that the scale of localisation is critically dependent on Eskom's new PWR programme, and not so much on the PBMR programme, because PWRs are so much bigger than PBMRs.

"The level of localisation is dependent on the pace of the new build programme."

Eskom's new PWR programme was suspended in December, owing to the financial constraints afflicting the utility. The key questions are: when will Eskom announce the resumption of the programme? And what will they announce? The utility could announce an order for a single PWR, or it could unveil a rolling building programme for many PWRs.

Previously, Eskom had announced its intention to build 20 GW of nuclear power by 2025. This should amount to 30% of the utility's total generating capacity by that date. (Currently, Koeberg, which has a nominal capacity of 1 930 MW, contributes about 5% of the country's electricity.) "If this [plan] is renewed, it would give real impetus to a sustainable localisation programme," says Claassen.

But the clock is ticking. "We need to make decisions as a country, and soon," asserts Kriek. "The later we leave it, the lower the possibility of localisation. Unless your domestic market is big enough - and South Africa's isn't - localisation works only if it is part of globalisation. If we get localisation early, South African industry will form part of the global supply chains for major companies."
But early localisation depends on an early decision to go ahead with Eskom's new build PWR programme. Given Eskom's current financial circumstances, that is likely to require government approval and support.

Recently, Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan assured journalists that "government is working on the funding model for Eskom at the moment".

She also affirmed that government remains committed to the PBMR programme, and also assured that government believes that "time is of the essence" in developing nuclear energy in the country.

"Government is gung-ho about localisation," she asserted, adding that the country "could not afford" to import products and skills that could be produced in the country.

Localisation will be heavily dependent on the transfer of technology and expertise from the major international nuclear companies and, warns Kriek, "they can invest significantly in only a limited number of countries". Already, Finland, Canada, China, India, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and the UK (which allowed its civil nuclear reactor industry to atrophy through decades of neglect) have, or are planning, localisation programmes.


The nuclear industry is like no other. Safety is absolutely critical. "It is tough to make things for the nuclear industry," emphasises Kriek. "There are a lot of regulations and the regulators are tough. You really need to make sure you follow the process."

When it comes to manufacturing components for use in nuclear power stations, and to the construction of such facilities, there are four categories of "safety case" (SC). These are - high (SC-H), medium (SC-M), low (SC-L) and none (SC-N). Under SC-H fall components and systems that are of high importance to nuclear safety, while SC-M covers those that are important to nuclear safety. SC-L and SC-N cover things that are not important to nuclear safety. If South African companies wish to meaningfully participate in the nuclear industry, they must be able to comply with the requirements of SC-H and SC-M.

For many, if not most, companies, ISO 9001 is the quality standard. For companies in the nuclear sector, it is only the beginning. Indeed, South Africa's NNR requires that companies wishing to be part of the nuclear industry must have specifically ISO 9001: 2008. Further, they must comply with NNR requirements document RD-0034, and achieve certification in those inter- national quality codes that meet the standards of this docu-ment. These include OHSAS 18001, NQA-1 (nuclear quality assurance), and, at the top of the list, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code chapter III (ASME III).

It is essential for manufacturers to have ASME III or ASME VIII certification, depending on the specific component or system, in order to operate in the SC-H and SC-M categories.

Business wanting to manufacture pressure vessels for the nuclear sector must also have ASME VIII certification - even if their products are aimed at the SC-N category.

Electrical components for SC-H and SC-M applications must comply fully with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61225.

Instrumentation and control systems for SC-H must meet IEC 61513 and 61226 Category A/Class 1, while those for SC-M must meet IEC 61513 and 61226 Category B/Class 2. Welders working on components for nuclear reactors, and their support and ancillary systems, must be specially certified.

Companies wishing to do civils works for the SC-H element of a nuclear power station must comply with American Concrete Institute (ACI) 349, for nuclear safety-related concrete structure, as well as US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Regulatory Guide 1.142, which covers safety-related concrete structures for nuclear power plants, excepting reactor vessels and containments. For civils work on SC-M sections, the need is for ACI 349 and the South African Bureau of Standards SABS 1200 series specifications. (For SC-L and SC-N, they need SABS 1200).

Getting nuclear certification, particularly the essential ASME III, is neither easy nor cheap; and generally requires a complete culture change in the company seeking certi-fication. It takes good companies, with already high conventional quality-assurance standards, an average of three years to achieve ASME III certification. And companies that have ASME III are audited every year. "Maintaining these standards is expensive," points out Claassen. "If Eskom only builds one nuclear plant every five years, it will not be economically viable for South African companies to retain ASME III certification."


"Niasa is trying to prepare South African industry for the new PWR programme," he explains. "The concern is that, if the local industry is not ready by the time the announcement is made, the first PWR will have almost no localisation. And if the first doesn't, what chance is there that the second would have? And so on."

The point is not that Niasa expects South African companies to be able to supply SC-H or SC-M components for the first PWR, but that they be in a position (regarding certifications) to successfully absorb technologies transferred from the overseas prime contractors. This will then enable them to build, under license, components for the subsequent PWRs, these components increasing in complexity and importance with each new reactor. Ultimately, they would be producing important components, which would be used in the construction of nuclear power plants in other countries. This technology transfer would also assist South African companies to develop the expertise needed to manufacture key components for PBMRs as well.

"All the PBMR test facilities were built by South African companies," highlights Kriek. These facilities, however, involved no nuclear systems. "Thus, these companies must now be accredited as qualified nuclear suppliers if they wish to work on the real PBMR. We want to identify a group of South African companies that want to do this. We need to incubate companies to be local nuclear suppliers. We need to support them to get the required certifications."

Currently, the PBMR is being redesigned from the original concept as a single, direct- cycle, electricity-generating machine that would use helium to power a gas turbine, to a more flexible machine that would use a dual, indirect cycle in which the helium would convert water into superheated steam, which would drive a steam turbine and/or provide process heat.

"The PBMR Company will need the next two years to complete the new design of the demonstration plant. But it will take at least two years for a local company to become ASME certified anyway," points out Claasen.

"So, what can we do over the next two years? What kind of incentives or risk-mitigation measures can we put in place to allow local industry to prepare and get certified by the time the PBMR Company places orders for long-lead items?" The answers to these questions will clearly involve, directly or indirectly, government.

"We can never spend too much time on preparing for a nuclear industry. It must, however, be done right the first time," urges Kriek.

"Otherwise, setbacks will be very expensive and the local nuclear industry might not recover from them."

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter

4,125 Posts
Building up South Africa’s nuclear skills base
9th October 2009

The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (Niasa) will be publishing its nuclear skills guideline document at the end of the year, which will form the basis of the planning process for South Africa’s eventual nuclear roll-out.

The document, which is the result of an initiative launched by Niasa, will highlight data collected from a number of skills surveys, as well as information from international sources. The document examines the different levels of skills required for each predicted nuclear roll-out scenario. This will assist government and university departments in the planning process, in preparation for the country’s anticipated nuclear roll-out.

“The skills development subcommittee of Niasa met with the deans of all the universities as part of this initiative, which started a year ago, to find a mechanism whereby tertiary nuclear education can be accel- erated once government has announced its intended nuclear energy roll-out programme,” says Niasa secretariat Gert Claassen.

To assist South Africa with the skills needs for a growing nuclear industry, Niasa has developed a collaborative tertiary education model, which aims to structure the way that tertiary education takes place, by increasing the resources available, while reducing the costs.

“To start up a nuclear engineering or nuclear science department is costly. Labora- tories are expensive to build and set up, and skills are in short supply, so obtaining the acade- mics is difficult and costly,” Claassen says.

He adds that, through this col- laborative model, all universities interested in participating will register a core course and resour- ces will be shared to ensure that a student will be able to take a core course at one university and the additional subjects required can be taken at another university that has the relevant facilities.

Claassen emphasises that there are a number of challenges to overcome for this to come into effect, including the existing funding model of universities. “We are, however, excited about the progress that we have made in conceptualising something like this and Niasa has founded a skills secretariat to establish all the types of nuclear-related education requirements that will be needed.”

This year, a new postgraduate degree programme is being initia- ted in South Africa, devoted to the future needs of the local industry and the nuclear regulator. The master’s in the science and organisaion of nuclear energy degree is part of a colla- borative programme being developed by iThemba LABS, the university of Johannesburg, Tshwane University of Tech- nology and the University of South Africa.

Discussions are also under way to have regional variations of this programme involving the Durban University of Tech- nology and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in Durban, as well as between the University of Western Cape, the Cape Univer- sity of Technology and iThemba LABS, in the Western Cape.

The master’s in the science and organisaion of nuclear energy programme complements the collaborative master’s in nuclear engineering programme, to which engineering schools at the universities of the North, Cape Town, Pretoria, Stellenbosch and the Witwatersrand have strongly committed themselves to.

The new degree, which was created as a result of a report by Niasa on the country’s nuclear sector, is a two-year course that will be accredited by the end of this year.
Edited by: Brindaveni Naidoo

5,047 Posts
SA already has well operating nuclear power plant(s).Does SA have any plan to turn it(them) into nukes production? Just a question nothing more than that.Atleast, SA has the capacity to be the strongest in Africa militarily.

1,038 Posts
^^ we disarmed our nuclear weapons and signed the non prolifitation treats, so no

23,318 Posts
New nuclear power plant by 2020

Nov 20 2009 12:51

Pretoria - South Africa, plagued by chronic power shortages, plans to have the country's new nuclear power plant up and running by 2020, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters told a nuclear conference on Friday.

State-owned power utility Eskom, which operates Africa's sole nuclear power plant with a total capacity of 1 800 MW, cancelled plans to build a new facility at the end of last year, citing financial constraints.

The government has since taken the lead in developing the next power station, saying it wants to develop a local nuclear industry in partnership with a technology firm rather than adopt a commercial bidding process used by Eskom.

Peters said the new nuclear plant would produce about 20 000 megawatts. "It's a huge project, and in any project situation you plan with the end in sight, so we are looking at 2020," she said.

Peters said she was concerned by news of delays that could affect two of Eskom's coal-fired power stations, Kusile and Medupi, being built to help plug a power deficit in Africa's biggest economy, which suffered a near-collapse of its power grid in January last year, denting economic growth.

"We are not oblivious to the fact that should there be any delay in commissioning these two plants, consequences will be too ghastly to contemplate," she said.

Kusile and Medupi, both designed to generate 4 800 MW each, are Eskom's first new power plants in more than two decades.

News emerged on Thursday of delays in signing some contracts for Kusile power plant and the company said this would result in the station being commissioned later than the original 2013 start date.

Eskom also said the power system continued to be tight, but the utility did not foresee load shedding - a term used for blackouts - in 2010.

"We have reached a delicate situation, which requires us to take bold and decisive decisions about the type of the current and future energy requirements of our country," Peters said.

"We need to decide whether to build coal fired or nuclear power stations... Coal has clearly become a difficult option as carbon taxes could be imposed going forward."

Eskom has been rationing electricity since early last year after the national grid nearly collapsed forcing mines and smelters to shut for days and affecting industrial production, costing the economy billions of dollars.

Eskom has launched an ambitious expansion programme but still needs to raise parts of the R385bn required to supply fast-rising demand in the country.
- Reuters

The Sky's the Limit
787 Posts
Hey guys, has anyone heard anything about movements in South Africa's Nuclear programme?? I heard that they were thinking of canning the PBMR programme which is pretty hectic, especially after all the time and money spent so far....

I heard rumors of Eskom planning 3 big new Nuclear plants in SA, one in Northern Provence and the other two in Western Cape, one next to the existing Koerberg and the other in Pearly Beach after Hermanus.......has anyone heard anything similar???

The Sky's the Limit
787 Posts
Is no one interested in Nuclear Power......:-(

Come on guys, some one's gotta know some inside info or news??? I'd love to know what's the latest.....are they still planning on going ahead with it?? (I actually don't think they have a choice, they HAVE to, coal is of feasible and viable in the long term, especially if carbon tax is introduced!!!)

365 Posts
Ah come on, dont be like that!! I read Arcus Gibbs Draft EIR but got lost somehwere on page 121....OMG it's massive!!!

Give us an inside scoop!!! :banana::banana:
Congratulations for getting to page Its three sites that they investigating thats why its so big. This EIA excludes the power line corridors which forms part of a different EIA process. The main report is quite big, but for a project of this size, one would expect no less. The specialsit reports are also quite big and really needs to be read to get a sense of the scope of the project and the seer size of mitigation that must be undertaken, which ever site will be chosen for Nuclear 1.

You can read all the inside scoops in my memoirs. You can twist my arm as much as you want, but I won't talk.

8,577 Posts
$40 million US research boost for PBMR nuclear project
March 29, 2010

Local nuclear company Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Limited stands to benefit soon from a $40 million (R296 million) award by the United States department of energy (DoE) for research into so-called next generation nuclear plant (NGNP).

"One of the recipients is the South Africa-based Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Limited, responsible for research and development into the country's Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR)," the US Embassy in Pretoria said in a statement on Monday.

The investment reflected the US's commitment to ensuring a supply of clean energy to power its economy.

"The department will now negotiate the final terms and conditions for the awards with the intention of completing conceptual designs by August 31 [this year]," it said.

The 2010 Budget tabled by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan last month proposes massive cuts in government spending on South Africa's PBMR project.

According to reports, the company is now considering slashing its workforce by up to 75 percent.

Earlier this month, chief executive officer Jaco Kriek announced his resignation as PBMR head.

On March 8, the US DoE announced it had awarded contracts worth US40m to two consortiums for "conceptual design and planning" for NGNP.

They are headed by Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric Company and San Diego-based General Atomics.

The Westinghouse consortium includes PBMR.

In a statement last week, the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) expressed its regret at Kriek's resignation.

"NIASA, however, understands the challenges facing the PBMR company as it makes the transition towards becoming purely an engineering design company," it said at the time. - Sapa

1 Posts
I do not want nuclear power in this country, we are by far underqualified for such projects. As soon as we get used to it, it becomes easy and then people make mistakes, that will cost us dearly. There are far better and more environmentally friendly alternatives. Some people (greedy) just do not care how their actions effect ME.
Hopefully it is never completed.
1 - 20 of 35 Posts