New Type of Nuclear Reactor Unveiled at the Africa Energy Indaba

Russian nuclear institution Rosatom presented a new type of small modular reactor (SMR) at the Africa Energy Indaba Forum in Cape Town last week, on the 3 and 4 March.

Rosatom is currently the only company in the world to offer integrated clean energy solutions across the nuclear supply chain and beyond. With 70 years’ experience, the company claims to be the world leader in high-performance solutions for all kinds of nuclear power plants.

Ryan Collyer, the acting CEO of Rosatom Central and Southern Africa, highlighted the global shift towards nuclear energy – not only for the energy sector itself but also to address many other important issues.

“We are working hard to do our part in delivering the great stories from our industry – to highlight its true potential to become a catalyst for sustainable development in Africa. We all understand that nuclear will play a vital role in achieving the United Nations sustainability goals, not only in Africa but across the globe,” Collyer says.

“Rosatom SMRs can be a good alternative to diesel generators, providing reliable power supply and preventing harmful emissions at a competitive price,” he says, focusing on the use of nuclear tech for heat and electricity, as well as desalination processes. Collyer continues to say that the main advantages of these reactors, the RITM-200, are cost-efficiency, small size and safety.

The main advantages of these reactors, the RITM-200, are cost-efficiency, small size and safety.
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The reactors are designed for nuclear icebreaker ships, land-based small NPPs and floating nuclear power plants.

Rosatom has already built six RITM-200 reactors, and two reactors onboard the icebreaker Arktika have attained criticality – which means they are currently functioning in their natural flow of nuclear energy generation.

Currently, Rosatom is working on offshore nuclear power plants – optimised floating power units, similar to the Karpowership floating power stations that petitioned the government in January.

Nuclear Power in South Africa

South Africa’s relationship with nuclear power has been rocky, if not controversial. Constantly changing plans, poor public reception and history of conscientiousness have left the future of nuclear power murky waters.

South Africa currently has one functioning nuclear power station, compared to the 89 nuclear reactors currently generating in the USA. The Koeberg plant in Cape Town is regarded as one of the safest stations of its class in the world, and supplies about 5% of the national grid’s power.

Rosatom’s nuclear reactors, if implemented properly, could see far-reaching relief to South Africa’s crippled national grid and lessen the impact of load shedding in a cheap, sustainable and much cleaner way.

Edited by Luis Monzon

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