SA losing nuclear skills

2010-05-26 11:43

Cape Town - About 250 employees of the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor company (PBMR) have already resigned and many of them are moving overseas, Solidarity trade union spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans said in response to enquiry on Tuesday.

On Wednesday the unions will hold another meeting with the PBMR management, in terms of the process prescribed in Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.

It has been reliably ascertained that only about 40 people will ultimately remain at the company.

Kleynhans said that Solidarity had already approached Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan to intervene to prevent scarce nuclear power skills being lost to South Africa. There is a crisis because time is running out.

Solidarity's original proposal was that entities like Eskom, the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa and the National Energy Regulator should work closely together to retain skills, but no one is taking the lead, said Kleynhans.

Every day more workers are resigning and being taken up elsewhere - mainly overseas. Many are going to the US, which is building two new nuclear power stations.

Stratek consultant Dr Kelvin Kemm said government’s decision to scale down the PBMR project was premature. As for criticism that the project was too expensive, Kemm says this should be seen in perspective.

The cost of the entire PBMR project to date is about 5% of that of one of the new coal-fired power stations, or 70% of the expenditure on the stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.


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  • Rick - 2010-05-26 11:56

    It's the govt and unions chasing them so why should they do anything about it. If I was young and had the oppurtunity you would not see me for dust. The Govt and Unions can't see the light of day and never will.

  • zane - 2010-05-26 12:56

    anc policy 1. set up a committe takes 5 years 2. agree on what will work 3. ignore 3 and do opposite 4. write off investments 5. split bal of funds to Anc cronies 6. blame apartheid for what went wrong 7. repeat

  • @Zane - 2010-05-26 15:14

    Well said

  • Beagle72 - 2010-05-26 17:10

    This is actually very sad news. Its not about the individual project, but the total lack of scientific progress in general. Actually sending kids to South African schools is a waste of energy. The best hope for ZA now is to be colonised again by people who actually understand human scintific progress.

  • Expat in Europe - 2010-05-27 10:05

    ANC will never learn anything. We also had a brilliant defense industry with some of the best skills in the world, yet it was destroyed by the ANC policies and cadre deployment. All the best engineers went overseas (in my immediate family there are two who now has very senior positions in the international defense industry). It simply proofs the old saying, anything that is mechanical/electrical/science-based, is beyond the comprehension of Africa.

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