Johannesburg - Algeria has shown a keen interest in South Africa's pebble bed
technology, South Africa's Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR)
company said on Monday.
CEO Jaco Kriek said in a statement that Algeria's interest in
PBMR technology "opens a real opportunity for two African countries
to co-operate on nuclear".
The statement said a high-level delegation under the leadership
of Mohamed Derdour, chairman of the Algerian Atomic Energy
Commission (Comena), was in South Africa.
"Algeria is, amongst others, exploring the possibility of
building nuclear reactors the size of PBMR near inland villages to
provide electricity and desalination," Kriek said.
Other areas of possible strategic partnerships were in the field
of capacity building and skills development, training, experimental
facilities using a PBMR reactor, nuclear safety and the supply of
purified helium for PBMR.
According to Comena, Algeria was seriously pursuing nuclear
technology as a means to diversify its energy sources and as a
vehicle to reduce its dependency on a hydrocarbons economy.
"We plan to build 1000 MWe [megawatt electrical] of nuclear
capacity by 2022 and 2400 MWe by 2027," Derdour said.
"Since this power is needed for both electricity generation and
desalination, the pebble bed technology seems to be an extremely
Derdour pointed out that Algeria, like South Africa, had signed
the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
"Algeria has atomic energy agreements with Argentina, China,
France and the United States.
"We also have two research reactors, which were built by
Argentina and China respectively".
Kriek said South Africa had a long relationship with Algeria,
including the signing in 2003 of a memorandum of understanding on
co-operation in the field of nuclear and radiation sciences between
Comena and South Africa's department of science and technology.
"We believe the PBMR technology is ideal for a country such as
Algeria with its need for clean water.
"We would therefore very much welcome Comena's involvement in
the PBMR Company," Kriek added.