South Africa’s Small Nuclear Reactors

re posted from                            DAILY FRIEND

Naturally, the anti-nuclear greens, who are politically powerful and control most of the media, would try to stop it. If we could sort these things out, South Africa could lead the world on small, extremely safe nuclear reactors, make a lot of money selling them, and help us to get out of the electricity calamity that is plaguing our economy and our people.

South Africa’s small nuclear reactors

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are in vogue now, and it so happens that South Africa is a world leader in this nuclear technology. “Modular” means that the power units come in modules, which are made in factories rather than on construction sites.

Our Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) was the most advanced in the world and came close to commercial operation before the project was abandoned. We are now in advanced stages of design for two smaller, simpler SMRs, which have the potential to gain huge markets at home and abroad, notably in Africa where most countries have small electricity grids. They also have the potential to provide plentiful, safe, reliable and affordable electricity for South Africa.

There is sometimes a conception that SMRs are a magic pill that will overcome insurmountable difficulties in conventional nuclear power reactors. This is wrong on two counts. Conventional nuclear reactors, which are large, do not have insurmountable difficulties. For over sixty years they have provided the world with the safest, cleanest, most reliable, most sustainable grid electricity it has ever known, always affordable and often the cheapest energy available. They do have certain problems though, such as their large size, the long time it takes to shut them down safely, and the slight chance of serious accidents.

SMRs can remove any chance of serious accidents. They can be used in niche markets, such as in small countries, in remote settings, and to provide heat and power to industries. But, in the initial stages at least, their electricity will be more expensive per kilowatt-hour (kWh) than that from conventional reactors.

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South Africa’s small nuclear reactors

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