Wednesday, March 24, 2010

US Dept of Energy saves pebble bed reactor project

South Africa Pebble Bed Modular Reactor

South Africa's Pebble Bed Modular Reactor company has been thrown a $10-million lifeline by the US Department of Energy only a week before its government funding runs out.

But it will not be enough to prevent the retrenchment of three-quarters of the PBMR's 800 staff and the reduction of its executive team from 11 to three. CEO Jaco Kriek resigned earlier this month and other executives are expected to follow.

Minority investor Westinghouse is said to be mulling a further investment.

PBMR has already suspended development of the triple reheat Brayton cycle helium turbine that would achieve the high thermal/electrical power conversion efficiency. Many had hoped this research would be transferable to other high temperature gas cooled reactor projects.


Brian said...

That photo of the "South African Pebble Bed Reactor" looks suspiciously similar to the outside of an RBMK; the most common example of the RBMK is Chernobyl-4. Am I mistaken?

Robert Hargraves said...

I made a mistake. This is not a photo of the PBMR project. Sorry.

Cristiano said...

10 million USD is nothing for a project as important as this.

Obviously both the so-called environmentalist groups and their Club Of Rome backers must be rejoicing.

PBMR was a vital project for the energy and economic independence of SA as well as many other nations. There are however other very powerful forces who much prefer to deny the developing world access to stable cheap nuclear power, industrialization and all the benefits which derive thereof. Hopefully the Chinese and the Russians will carry on and develop their own versions.