To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the SAFARI-1 nuclear reactor, the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) has produced a commemorative medallion.
The medallion shows the position of the reactor in Africa by indicating its global position system coordinates, and shows an outline of the nuclear reactor building.
On the reverse is the famous E=mc2 equation of Albert Einstein, which predicted the reality of nuclear power. It also indicates the exact moment when the reactor went critical – 18:33 on March 18, 1965. The term ‘went critical’ is nuclear jargon for the moment that the core nuclear reaction started in the uranium fuel.
A zebra is also shown, to indicate not only Africa but also the clean and tranquil setting of the site of the reactor at Pelindaba, the name of the Necsa site headquarters. Wild zebras and other game, such as warthogs and kudu, freely roam the Pelindaba site.
It is not unusual to find three or four zebras grazing on the lawn outside the reactor building. SAFARI-1 is currently the world’s second- largest producer of nuclear medicine, which is exported to 60 countries, earning Necsa over R1-billion a year in revenue.