Eskom has announced that it is ready to continue to the next stage of the pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR) project, subject to the required statutory approval being gained. This includes getting the nuclear licence and the environmental impact assessment record of decision.
This is expected to pave the way for shareholders in the PBMR company to commit to construction of a demonstration module. Sources said that the company's two minority shareholders, BNFL and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), and the South African government, had been waiting for a signal that Eskom remained committed to the project.
The first phase of the project, which entailed a detailed feasibility study, also included successful demonstration of some key concepts, such as the start-up of a test rig of the PBMR power conversion system. The next phase includes development, construction and commissioning of a PBMR demonstration unit.