Anti-nuclear sentiments and voices in Africa are misplaced, baseless and devoid of facts

Anti-nuclear sentiments and voices in Africa are misplaced, baseless and devoid of facts

Anti-nuclear sentiments and voices in Africa are misplaced, baseless and devoid of facts

The negative sentiments and biased arguments devoid of real facts on the ground if not unwarranted, and attacks on the South African nuclear industry by the Greenies and those against nuclear power are baseless.

Real evidence of what is happening in both the developed Western Economies and developing World Economies point to the contrary. Leading economies in the world are including nuclear power in their Net Zero Carbon Emissions by year 2050 targets.

The snapshots below highlight the Nuclear Power activities in some of the developed countries and developing leading economies.

Current global trends in new nuclear programmes involving Small Modular Reactors (SMR’s) and Large-Scale Reactors:

Countries such as US, Canada, Western Europe, United Kingdom, India, China and Middle East are leading programs for the commercialization of both Large-Scale Nuclear Reactors and the more advanced Small Nuclear Modular Reactors (SMRs). Below are the companies that are involved in pursuing nuclear technology in all the mentioned countries:

– Terrapower, a company owned by Bill Gates is working with Department of Energy (DOE) to develop SMRs. The DOE committed funds to develop SMRs with planned implementation dates around year 2027/29. On January, 31, 2022 Terrapower signed a global partnership with Japan Atomic Energy Agency and Japanese Fast Reactor Industrial to collaborate on Sodium Fast Nuclear Reactor Technology.

– NuScale is a privately owned company, which is currently developing a 60 Megawatt (MWe) SMRs for electricity generation, process heat applications, sea water desalination and enhancement of agricultural irrigation water. USA Development Finance is backing their nuclear bid for South African SMR tender.

– X-Energy is a privately owned energy company from America with South African roots. It is developing a 100 MW of electricity SMRs similar to the South African Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR).

– Holtec International of the US is developing SMRs in collaboration with Ukraine with average size of 160 MW of electricity. Ukraine will set up Fabrication Plant for the SMRs Reactors that Holtec intends to market worldwide.

– StarCore of Canada is developing a 30 -150 MW of electricity SMRs that will be deployed for electricity generation and process heat applications in Canada, USA and Africa (23 SMRs proposed for Nigeria for year 2027).

– Rolls-Royce of United Kingdom (UK) is developing SMRs with average size of 60 MWe that will be deployed for electricity generation, process heat applications and sea water desalination. The UK government awarded £210 million (R4.9 billion) grant to Rolls-Royce to assist it to accelerate the development of its SMRs. The Qatar Government has bought shares in Rolls-Royce SMR Project Development. Furthermore, the UK Government is supporting the large-scale New Nuclear Reactors by EDF of France for construction in Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.

– Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) in collaboration with Tsinghua University and China Huaneng connected the world’s first SMRs to the grid. The 210 MWe SMR based on the GEN IV technology High Temperature gas cooled Reactor of Pebble bed Module is called HTR-PM that is similar to the South African Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) Project.

– About 93% of HTGR equipment is manufactured domestically in China, thus demonstrating the high scale of sci-tech self-reliance through development of HTGR technology in China for decades. South Africa will do itself a world of good to copy the example set by China by reviving South Africa’s PBMR Project and start looking for international partners for its development like many countries are doing.

– India and the United Arab Emirates are building large-scale New Nuclear Reactors. Other leading Middle East nations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar are working on New Nuclear Power Plans.

Current New Nuclear Activities in African Countries on Small Modular Reactors (SMR’s) and Large-Scale Reactors:

⦁Rwanda is embarking on procuring 200 MWe of New Nuclear Power from the SMRs technology suppliers.

⦁Zambia is building a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST) in collaboration with Russia’s Rosatom.

⦁Kenya has selected sites for two large-scaler New Nuclear Reactors and working on regulatory framework.

⦁Ghana recently announced that it is forging ahead with plans for large-scale nuclear reactors.

⦁Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) holds a big New Nuclear potential and is talking to China for SMRs.

⦁Other African countries such as Uganda have announced New Nuclear Power Plans but nothing concrete.

⦁Egypt is about to go into construction phase of its first large scale new nuclear reactor of four reactors.

⦁South Africa is attempting to procure 2500 MWe New Nuclear and, therefore, is not alone.

This report paints a simplistic picture of what is really happening globally in the space of new nuclear power, while South African anti-development NGOs and Greenies are opposing South Africa’s procurement of new nuclear power. The country should be reviving its very own Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) and looking for international investors who are flocking with investments to countries that are embracing nuclear.

NuScale and Terrapower of USA and StarCore of Canada are planning to build and offer batteries of SMRs for the repurposing of the ageing and due for decommissioning Coal Power Stations fleets. They will offer these to African Market/s.

Only four out of 13 leading nations in Europe are expected to vote against nuclear power being added to the green finance for the 2050 Net Zero Carbon Emissions target.

In the US there is a big green nuclear deal campaign spearheaded by Madison Hilly, and The Stand Up for Nuclear (SUFN) campaign of Michael Shallenberger is gaining global coverage with four African countries having participated in 2021 campaign, including South Africa led by Women in Nuclear Global Award Winner Princy Mthombeni and other Nuclear Active Groups like Women in Nuclear South Africa (WINSA), NIASA, SAYNPS, Nehawu NPTC and SA Vest Group.

This is contrary to the narrow view peddled by the anti-nuclear lobby groups and the green extremists in South Africa. In fact, Earthlife Africa does not hide why they oppose new nuclear. In their website they say they: “stand against nuclear power because it stands in the way for Renewable.”

The World Nuclear Association and the African Energy Chamber have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding to drive nuclear energy adoption in Africa.

This collaboration reflects the shared commitment of both organisations to promoting clean, affordable and reliable nuclear energy as a crucial component of Africa’s energy mix, to support economic growth, a just transition and sustainable energy development.

Perhaps it is time for the anti-nuclear lobby groups and the Greenies to be held accountable and asked that they present their arguments based on facts and not on emotions. The nuclear industry players are always open to engage in a frank, open and transparent manner. South African leaders are strongly encouraged to allow the nuclear industry to have its business proposition case heard in a levelled playing field.

Hlathi Zak Madela is an executive director of the South African Energy Forum (SAEF) and Chairman of EIFSA (Economic Interventions Forum of South Africa).

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** The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Media or IOL.