Job search for PBMR workers

01 July 2010

Appeals have been made by South African nuclear trade bodies to help 800 workers affected by the withdrawal of government support for the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor project. 


Funding for PBMR Pty's effort to build a prototype of the modular and inherently safe nuclear heat source has been finally cut by the South African government.


PBMR warned in February that 75% of its staff would be forced to find other employment but it is now clear that the staff of around 800 will be reduced to 25. In response, the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (Niasa) has set up a special page on its website to allow PBMR workers to upload their CVs.


"It is saddening in the extreme to contemplate the potential loss of talent to this country, but humanitarian considerations dictate this action," said John Walmsley, past president of the South African branch of the UK's Nuclear Institute.


PBMR owner Eskom has long struggled to meet growing demand for power in the country. Plans made for a mass order of pressurized water reactors in early 2008 were put on hold, and then came the global recession.


Building from German research in the 1980s, much work was carried out towards a 400 MWt (165 MWe) concept for PBMR using a full-scale Brayton cycle gas turbine. In 2009 PBMR Pty decided to focus on a 200 MWt (80 MWe) design using a conventional Rankine cycle enabling it to produce steam and to generate electricity.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News