US govt chooses two SA firms
October 2, 2006

South Africa’s Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) and Potchefstroom based M-Tech Industrial have been chosen as part of a group to study a Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) by the US Department of Energy.

“The contract (worth $3-million) is the first phase of engineering work for the NGNP at the Idaho National Laboratory,” said PBMR chief executive, Jaco Kriek on Monday.

“The initial 12-month phase is the first step in a multi-step programme to deliver a high temperature gas-cooled reactor prototype to increase domestic energy supplies.”

Westinghouse Electric Company, which owns 15 percent of PBMR, will lead the South African team with the other members of the consortium including Shaw Stone & Webster of Boston; Technology Insights of San Diego; Air Products and Chemicals of Allentown, Pennsylvania; Nuclear Fuel Services of Erwin, Tennessee; and, Kadak Associates of Providence, Rhode Island.

The PBMR plant produces both heat and electricity. It can harness the heat to produce hydrogen without carbon dioxide pollution by applying nuclear heat of 900 degrees Celsius to water to split it into its components — hydrogen and oxygen, according to an announcement.