Much more nuclear power is essential for South Africa, which is aiming for a massive increase in electricity consumption – at least 100%. In contrast, some European countries are aiming to reduce electricity consumption over the longer term.
In Africa, we have to aim for massive infrastructure expansion and much more. None of this is going to happen without the use of much more electricity. It must be a totally reliable 24/7 supply. We are not talking of solar panels on the roof of your house.
South Africa is a uranium supplier to the world, so we have centuries of nuclear fuel.
Now we have to get on and build the new nuclear plants. This will signal to international business and industry that large-scale reliable electricity will be available to power any expansion plans that they may have.
Building nuclear power plants is exciting. But the venture needs the collaboration of a wide spectrum of people and companies, both in South Africa and in foreign countries.
This collaboration is the primary objective of the yearly Nuclear Africa 2016 conference, to be held from March 16 to 18 at a country venue near Centurion. The idea of that type of venue is to encourage an atmosphere of collaboration and interaction, where delegates talk to one another and people develop strategic alliances.
The main keynote speaker is Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
The conference is being organised by Nuclear Africa in collaboration with the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, whose CEO, Phumzile Tshelane, will also be speaking. Important international personalities of rank in the nuclear world will be among the speakers. These include World Nuclear Association chairperson Dr Helmut Engelbrecht and the deputy director-general for nuclear energy at the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna, Mikhail Chudakov. Another interesting nuclear development organisation is New Nuclear Watch Europe, and its chairperson, Tim Yeo, is also a speaker.
The conference’s primary sponsor, the diamond sponsor, is giant Russian nuclear company Rosatom, whose delegation will be led by the company’s director of international business, Nikolay Drosdov. The gold sponsor is international uranium supply company Urenco, led by marketing and sales manager Michael Bryant.
The South African National Nuclear Regulator, Dr Bismark Tyobeka, will explain his role in safeguarding the public.
There will also be speakers from companies such as Eskom, Aurecon and Ingerop, as well as other major foreign companies from China, Korea and Germany.
For two days, the conference consists of presentations, discussion sessions, a cocktail function and great spirit. The third day is dedicated to networking only. On day three, there will be a lamb on the spit, near the swimming pool, and only a dozen paces from the outdoor bar. In past years, the networking day has produced interesting animated discussion. That is the objective.
A conference of this nature should not be a one-way data transmission exercise in which some people lecture and the rest listen. All attendees at Nuclear Africa conferences are smart people with much to offer. They are not only engineers and scientists, but also folks from construction companies. We have machining and welding companies, plastics, electrical. We also have the universities.
The conference organisers want anybody who has a possible interest, or role to play, in the mighty nuclear construction roll-out to get together and to trade ideas.