Westinghouse to Assist S. Africa with Domestic Nuclear Fuel Fabrication
From Nuclear Street
Westinghouse announced an agreement Tuesday to help South Africa develop domestic fabrication of nuclear fuel.
South Africa has operated fuel cycle facilities in the past to fuel its Koeberg nuclear plant, but currently the country relies on imports. South African energy policies have called for a yet-to-be-decided amount of new nuclear construction to help meet soaring power demand in the coming decades. To provision the new reactors, a plan last year called for a conversion, enrichment and fabrication complex to be established in 2016 and come online about a decade later, with the new reactor vendor envisioned as a partner in the fabrication plant, according to the World Nuclear Association.
The newly announced memorandum of understanding between Westinghouse and the South African Nuclear Energy Corp. is a tentative step in that direction. In a release, Westinghouse indicated it will “investigate and cooperate in the development of local fabrication capabilities for fuel assembly components.”
Westinghouse has provided fuel to unit 1 at Koeberg since 2000 and has provided services to the Eskom-owned plant since the 1990s. The Pennsylvania-based Toshiba subsidiary bought South Africa’s IST Nuclear (now Westinghouse Electric South Africa) in 2007 to support Koeberg and other projects. Westinghouse also submitted a bid to build three AP1000 reactors under a tender that was cancelled in 2008.
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