South Africa considers nuclear fuel cycle facilities
3 April 2012
Reuters - April 2, 2012
South Africa is mulling the re-establishment of its uranium enrichment and conversion facilities, which were dismantled during the apartheid era, as it seeks to secure fuel for a new fleet of nuclear power stations.
Africa's largest economy, which announced more than 40 years ago that it would enrich uranium as part of a military-linked strategy during the Cold War, wants another 9,600 megawatts of nuclear energy to help shore up a power grid under pressure from rising demand and decades of under investment.
"The studies confirmed that fuel for the power reactor fleet should be manufactured in South Africa for reasons of security of supply when the nuclear component is expected to be around 13 percent of installed capacity," Chantal Janneker, Necsa's group spokeswoman, told Reuters.
Necsa, the country's nuclear energy corporation, is being encouraged to revive its participation in the nuclear value chain - including enrichment, conversion and nuclear fuel manufacturing - to reduce South Africa's current dependence on imported reactor fuels.
The country has some of the world's largest uranium deposits and the new nuclear fleet is likely to use 465 metric tonnes of enriched uranium a year by 2030.