A detailed feasibility study of South Africa’s Pebble Bed Modular Reactor design is scheduled to be completed in June 2001, Ward Sproat, vice president of international projects for Exelon of Chicago, Illinois, told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on 31 January.

Sproat said that under favorable circumstances, construction of a prototype PBMR, a 110MWe helium cooled reactor, in South Africa could begin as early as the middle of 2002 and be completed in 36 months. Following a one-year testing period, commercial operation could then begin as early as 2006. Sproat said that if the technology proves successful, Exelon, which holds a 12.5% interest in the PBMR, would then evaluate whether to build and operate a unit in the United States.