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In the wake of the Fukushima disaster wind power has increased in importance in energy transition. The problem, of course, was never a lack of wind but the dependence of most societies on the old energy economy, and some have only too happily continued to operate their old nuclear plants… (more)


We have only got one planet, and we must love her and everything that lives on her, and do everything we can to protect her. We must always act in such a way as to cause the most benefit and the least costs to people and the environment… (more)

The impact of the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which resulted from the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami on 11March 2011, will have wide-ranging consequences for the global energy mix as governments and companies seek to address the challenges of providing a sustainable supply of energy for the greatest benefit of all… (more)

Kyshtym measured as a Level 6 disaster on the International Nuclear Event Scale, making it the third most serious nuclear accident ever recorded (after the Chernobyl disaster, and the Fukushima I nuclear accidents, both Level 7 on the INES scale… (more)

A day after a devastating tsunami struck the northeastern Japanese coast on 11 March 2011, the world’s media began to shift its focus.  A series of dramatic explosions at the Fukushima Daichi (Daichi meaning “Number One” in Japanese ) nuclear power plant attracted coverage away from the massive damage and more than 24 000 fatalities of the tsunami… (more)

Demand for electricity in South Africa is expected to increase to about 454 TWh in 2030 as compared to 260 TWh last year according to the integrated resource plan (IRP) 2010.  We need all the energy we can get, and nuclear is one of the viable energy sources for our country… (more)

by Mark Botha and Chris Yelland, EE Publishers

The debate around hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo is an issue of national and public interest. Shale gas extraction has the potential, some say, to change the face of the country’s power industry and improve the lives of millions of South Africans. Public opinion, however, is a powerful force well-known to have hampered the nuclear industry in the past… (more)

The events in Japan at the Fukushima nuclear plant and the resulting nuclear crisis have focused attention again on the safety of power plant under conditions of natural disaster. The earthquake is  reckoned to have approached 9 on the Richter scale and the ensuing tsunami has been estimated at 15 m high. Tthe nuclear plant reacted in accordance with plan and went into shutdown mode, but the ensuing tsunami destroyed all chance of a graceful shutdown. The problem on most people’s minds is the potential leakage of radioactive material from the damaged plant, and the possibility of a core meltdown… (more)

The Treasury has announced it’s proposal to introduce a “carbon tax”, with the stated aim of reducing CO2 dioxide emmissions and facilitating the move to a “low carbon” future. The nature of the power generation industry in South Africa is such that neither financial incentives or penalties, such as taxes, can have any effect on the utility and how it generates power, and implementing the proposal will result in just another tax… (more)

Thorium is found as a by-product together with the rare earths. It has the potential to trigger a nuclear renaissance as the mineral offers the opportunity to manage concerns surrounding waste management and proliferation in the provision of nuclear energy… (more)

All energy sources have a footprint of some type. The current focus is on carbon footprints, but the introduction of non-carbon based sources of energy is leading to a consideration of footprints based on a wider range of characteristics. We are all familiar with the term carbon footprint, which is used widely today, but is actually a bit of a misnomer as the focus is on carbon emissions from fossil fuel sources, and it should be called the fossil fuel footprint… (more)

In the light of the termination of the PBMR project, this article looks at the value of pebble bed reactor technology to human capital development in South Africa, and presents  a proposal to ensure the future of the technology in this country… (more)

A powerful question: direct cycle or indirect cycle? In a jet engine, fuel is burned to heat air that has already been compressed by spinning blades. As the heated air expands, it races out of a nozzle at the back of the engine, providing the thrust to push the aircraft forwards quickly enough for it to get airborne and stay airborne. Some of this thrust spins a turbine and is used to drive the compressor. This is a considerable oversimplification, but it outlines the basic principle… (more)

In 1958, a strange arched structure was taking shape at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (where most American new nuclear reactor designs were developed and tested). Anyone seeing the huge completed structure today would probably conclude that that it was a hangar for a jumbo jet, or an aircraft of similar size… (more)

Despite setbacks for the industry over the last 18 months, the fundamental facts affecting the future of nuclear power have not changed, according to Dr. Rob Adam , CEO of NECSA. Speaking at a SANEA presentation, Dr. Adam mentioned the cancellation of the Eskom nuclear build program, withdrawal of the letter of intent from Eskom to purchase PBMR reactors, the restrictions on PBMR finance, and the collapse of the price of uranium as factors which have created a very negative outlook for nuclear power in South Africa… ( more)

When evaluating the different options available for the production of electricity in South Africa it would be irresponsible to do so without tempering one’s idealism by giving serious consideration to our national affordability. A crisis has developed in our nation’s electricity production and distribution industry. There are several obvious reasons for this which I surely need not elaborate on. Hopefully our national “2010 hysteria” will eventually wane and be replaced by more beneficial investment actions… (more)

Nuclear power has been coming back into the international news during the past year. Some of the impetus for this has been a spin off from the international climate change debate, in which fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas have been targeted for emitting carbon dioxide. Fossil fuels have to emit carbon dioxide, as the fundamental heat equation is the combustion of carbon, which is carbon plus oxygen, which equals heat and carbon dioxide, no way around that… ( more)

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