A final decision on the fate of the controversial Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR), a small-scale nuclear reactor project that was placed into care and maintenance in 2010, would be made in 2013, Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Ben Martins confirmed this week.
Speaking to lawmakers in Cape Town, Martins said State-owned power utility Eskom had been hosting the PBMR Company since April 1, 2012, and would continue to do so until the end of the care and maintenance phase in 2013.
Government pulled support for the PBMR, in which an investment of more than R10-billion had been made, after the company failed to secure an investor, or partner.
However, government promised to “protect and preserve” its intellectual property and assets. “Good progress has been made thus far, which includes packaging more than 86% of the intellectual property for preservation,” Martins said.
The Departments of Public Enterprises and Science and Technology were also pursuing an intellectual property audit of the PBMR, “in order to ensure a sound strategy to protect its future value”.
“A skills audit has also been conducted to ascertain how current expertise could best be utilised in the future nuclear endeavours.”