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SMR nuclear reactor design bats for R9bn investment for energy security

A Johannesburg deep tech consultancy has indicated interest in driving the finance and construction of a Small Modular Reactor in South Africa.

Koya Capital Head of CleanTech Stephen Edkins says he became interested in nuclear power, especially medium and small-sized solutions, because wind and solar power cannot deliver much-needed energy security.

The company identified Stratek Global’s design as the most advanced SMR technology globally.

“Finally we’re now at a situation where we’re going to see serious investment in these new solutions.”

“We believe Stratek’s technology can be built today. They have the ability to produce the fuel that is required, they cover all the basis, they’re vertically integrated… and we know they have all the pieces in place,” said Edkins.

Koya Director Warren La Fleur said their role now is to get Stratek Global investor ready. “We’re going to be working with the team to prepare them from an organisation capacity perspective, in addition to working with international investors to raise the capital that is required, to bring this dream to life.

“it’s super exciting,” said La Fleur.

Energy security through nuclear by deploying small modular reactors rather than large, pricey power plants

Edkins said now that they have completed their due diligence they are confident they can recommend this project to their investors: “We will go back to our investors to look to close out the financing that makes this plant a reality.”

Stratek Globak Chairman Kelvin Kemm pointed out that South Africa was the first country in the world to start developing this SMR technology 30 years ago. “We can lay claim to the fact that all the SMR initiatives around the world are following us. We have quite an advanced system,” said Kemm.

He explained that interest in nuclear power globally has intensified because of the need to ensure future energy security.

“The system is designed to not need water cooling, it uses gas-cooled technology,” said Kemm.

The first of a kind HTMR-100 (Small Modular Reactor – SMR) is designed to produce 100MW of heat and 35MW of electricity.

It can be deployed individually, or grouped in pairs or sequences which suit the requirements of customers. Installations are modular and can be added according to demand or finances.

An SMR reactor system can be integrated into a national grid, deployed in a stand-alone mini-grid, or used in a C&I use case such as for a mine or industrial park.

Kemm explained that the entire exercise so far has been privately led though they are working closely with the National Nuclear Regulator to ensure regulatory compliance.

SMR technology very water conscious

The South African engineers have designed a reactor that does not need a large body of water for reactor cooling. This reactor system can then be placed anywhere.

La Fleur said the Stratek Global design is unique because of its low water consumption.

“It’s a passive design, so safety is of great importance. It can be deployed as close to the demand as possible.

“It offers from a global perspective the opportunity for large industrial users, governments, municipalities to almost reimagine what a power system could look like, obviously impacting significantly [on] the cost of delivering baseload energy.

“And importantly, bringing low-carbon solutions into the market.

“We know lots of parts of Africa are struggling with the energy transition and climate change.

“Water scarcity will become more of an issue across the continent.

“Bringing these new designs into the market will not only help Africa, but countries across the world, to manage this important global challenge,” said La Fleur.

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ESI Africa
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