Major contract for PBMR demonstration

22 August 2008

PBMR impression (PBMR Pty.)
How PBMR could look (Image: PBMR Pty.)

A deal worth C$253 million ($242 million) was announced today towards the demonstration Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR).


Canada's SNC Lavalin has said that a joint venture company launched by it and Murray & Roberts had been awarded a contract for engineering, procurement and construction services relating to Phase II of the PBMR project.


SNC Lavalin said that Phase I, covering the project scope definition, was completed by the consortium in June 2008 and the next month had seen the start of Phase II, which should result in a finished PBMR unit in 2014. It is to be built at Koeberg, subject to obtaining a licence from the National Nuclear Regulator and a positive decision on the environmental impact assessment.


The small advanced reactor, a South African national project, would produce 165 MWe and could be built in 'packs' of eight. It is hoped that up to 30 of the units would be employed domestically in coming decades, taking industrial heat-supply roles in the production of hydrogen and synthetic oils as well as electricity. The PBMR design is also a contender for build in the USA in the Next Generation Nuclear Plant project.


The project managed by the PBMR Pty firm, established in 1999 and owned by Eskom (41%), the South African Industrial Development Corporation (14%), the South African government (30%) and Westinghouse (15%).