A South African team took second place in the recent 2020 Brics Youth Energy Outlook event, hosted in Moscow. Brics is the acronym for the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa alignment and the Youth Energy Outlook involves teams of young researchers submitting papers on energy and the energy sectors of their countries. The recent 2020 event was the third edition of the initiative and involved 190 researchers from 42 leading universities from the five Brics countries.
It was a team from the University of Pretoria that secured second place for South Africa. The researchers involved were team leader and PhD candidate Vanessa Ndlovu, research assistant and PhD candidate Jessika Bohlmann, PhD student Alanda Venter, PhD student Jacobus Nel, and Masters student Ashley Gandy. (First place was taken by a Brazilian team.)
The University of Pretoria team presented a report on the role that nuclear technologies could play in cutting carbon emissions and providing a balanced energy mix, for any country. “The report is very well done,” reported Rosatom Central and Southern Africa acting CEO Ryan Collyer. “I encourage these young professionals to continue actively seeking the solutions to the globe’s energy challenges.”
Rosatom is a partner in the Youth Energy Outlook, through the Rosatom Youth Council. Rosatom Central and Southern Africa also participated in the event.
“If South Africa is endowed with many energy resources, ranging from coal to wind and solar, why go down the nuclear route?” pointed out Collyer. “The answer to this has everything to do with the balancing act known as the energy trilemma, which aims to balance security of supply, cost efficiency and at the same time minimise environmental impact. Nuclear is one of the only energy sources that ticks all three of these boxes.”
He further proposed that South Africa should actively consider ‘Smart City’ concepts, which could provide better access to basic services, for example electricity, for the country’s people. “While I agree that South Africa should look to the global market for solutions, a tailored South African solution, focused on South African challenges is what is needed to succeed,” he affirmed.