Friday, August 20, 2010

Nuclear News: South Africa

Developing the country's youth

After the 2010 International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC), in July, which celebrated its tenth anniversary and was hosted in South Africa for the first time, the country’s Department of Energy (DoE) and the IYNC aim to continue to develop youth in the nuclear industry, as well as promote the industry.

“It is essential that there is active participation by the youth around the world in the demystification of nuclear energy applications,” said DoE Minister Dipuo Peters at the conference, which was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

An important aspect of a nuclear expansion programme is skills development and skills transfer, but an expansion programme would not succeed without simultaneously dealing with public perceptions and concerns, she added.

The hosting of the congress was the first step in introducing the South African nuclear industry to the activities of the IYNC, said Peters.

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Consulting firm has 
expertise for SA’s 
developing nuclear 

As many countries around the world prepare to further develop nuclear power, 
 South Africa is alert to the trend and has the expertise ready to meet the 
demand for local nuclear energy, reports consulting engineers and scientists firm SRK Cape Town corporate consultant and partner Peter Rosewarne.

He says that, with the burning of fossil fuels being a contributor to greenhouse gases and global warming, there is a need for South Africa to increase its capacity for power generation from cleaner sources.

“Nuclear power is one such source and countries such as the UK, France, China and Germany have identified nuclear power as a way forward,” he says.

South Africa’s National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) is also currently in the process of 
revisiting its regulatory requirements, guidelines and processes and updating them 
wherever necessary.

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No ‘dirty bomb’ plot, South Africa says

An “industrial nuclear device” seized in a dramatic Pretoria police bust last month was radioactive cesium destined for a mining company in the Congo, not a terrorist group, a South African police official told SpyTalk on Thursday.

An extensive undercover investigation by South Africa’s elite “Hawks” police unit, assisted by Interpol, had culminated in a July 9 shootout at a gas station and the arrest of five men said to be part of a criminal gang that had spent months trying to sell stolen cesium worth $6 million to $7 million.

In part because police said they were desperately searching for a much larger cache of the highly toxic material, the arrests sparked worldwideheadlines about a possible terrorist plot to obtain the cesium for a “dirty bomb” -- a mix of radioactive material and common explosives.

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First commercial-sized shipment of medical 
isotopes to the US

NTP Radioisotopes, a subsidiary of the State-owned Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa), has successfully delivered the first official commercial-sized shipment of low-enriched-uranium- (LEU-) 
based Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) 
to the US. The shipment arrived 
in the US on July 21 to under-go a series of quality tests.
During the nuclear security summit, held in Washington, in April, Necsa and NTP committed to supply LEU-based medical isotopes to 
the US.

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