Westinghouse signs 'local nuclear fuel development' deal in SA

Westinghouse signs ‘local nuclear fuel development’ deal in SA

Nuclear energy group Westinghouse Electric has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) to "investigate and cooperate in the development of local fabrication capabilities for fuel assembly components".

In a statement, Westinghouse Electric said this "most recent agreement" with Necsa was a demonstration of its commitment towards "localisation of nuclear technologies" to South Africa.

"By using Necsa's state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, this MOU will lead to closer cooperation towards fuel component manufacturing as well as nuclear fuel technology support in the future," the statement said. "Westinghouse remains committed to play an active role in the electricity generation in South Africa, building on its localisation efforts through a network of industrial partners."

Westinghouse said South Africa's industrial growth forecast was backed by an ambitious government plan "where the need for sustainable energy will become vitally important".

The integrated resource plan for electricity (IRP2010) has allocated 9,600MW to nuclear power in the period up to 2030.

"Westinghouse firmly believes in the huge potential growth of South Africa's energy business towards a more balanced portfolio of clean sources of renewable and nuclear energy," Westinghouse said.

"Westinghouse started fuel deliveries to Eskom's Koeberg Nuclear Power Station Unit 1 at the beginning of 2000. Under the present fuel contract with Westinghouse, three nuclear fuel reloads are being delivered, with the last one to be delivered in mid-2014.

"Westinghouse Fuel Engineering is also currently working with Eskom toward extending and updating the contract for software services, including technology licensing and associated computer hardware."

"By signing this MOU with Necsa, we are showing our commitment to provide nuclear technologies and engineering support to the South African nuclear industry," François Harari, Westinghouse vice president and managing director for France, Benelux and South Africa, said. "We are proud of our proven Westinghouse technology and our global capabilities to deliver safe, reliable and clean base-load nuclear power."

"Necsa welcomes this partnership for local nuclear fuel development with Westinghouse and we are excited by the localization benefits that will come with this agreement," added Phumzile Tshelane, Necsa CEO.

Westinghouse has been active in South Africa's nuclear industry, mainly through support to the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, since the 1990s and is at the "origin of" the nuclear fleet technology in South Africa - its two reactors are Westinghouse-licensed.

Westinghouse's main localisation drive started in 2007 when it acquired IST Nuclear (Pty) Ltd, now operating as Westinghouse Electric South Africa (Pty) Ltd.

Image: © Eskom

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