In this on-demand webinar, ESI Africa in partnership with African Utility Week, unpacked some of the big issues surrounding nuclear – the affordability, safety and suitability of this type of power generation for Africa.
Academics and experts including Dr Anthonie Cilliers, programme manager, Nuclear Engineering at North West University, South Africa, and Knox Msebenzi, managing director of the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa, tackled audience questions in a South African context.
Msebenzi said nuclear had been debated in South Africa for too long – and the energy industry is acting like a “bunch of high school students in a debating society”. When asked if the nuclear build programme could fall victim to corruption, Cilliers said it was the responsibility of the public, media and private sector to stop that happening by acting as a watchdog.
US-based nuclear expert Tom Blees urged South Africa not to commission too much nuclear too quickly as the country could miss out on new technology in the pipeline that could mean, cheaper, more efficient machinery. In the webinar, Blees also gives a link to a free download of his book ‘Prescription for the Planet’.
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About the speakers
Gaopalelwe Santswere is a nuclear physicist at Eskom and chairperson of the South African Young Nuclear Professional Society. He specialises in regulation and licensing and ensuring all environmental impacts are managed properly and the nuclear technology complies with the National Nuclear Regulator.
Knox Msebenzi is managing director of the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA). NIASA’s remit is to promote high standards in the development and application of nuclear technology in South Africa and is made up of organisations, groups and individuals. Msebenzi previously worked for the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation and studied engineering at the University of Cambridge.
Tom Blees is president of international NGO Science Council for Global Initiatives. He is a member of the selection committee for the Global Energy Prize, considered Russia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize for energy research. Blees is also on the board of The World Energy Forum, a UN- & World Bank-affiliated organization. He has acted as a consultant and nuclear energy systems advisor to private industry and government.
Dr Anthonie Cilliers is a Nuclear Engineering specialist with a PhD Nuclear Engineering and M.Eng (Computer & Electronic) degrees. He works at the North-West University as Programme Manager: Nuclear Engineering and as research lead on numerous projects. Anthonie also specialises in Nuclear Knowledge Management where he is the initiator and coordinator of the national academic network, “South African Network for Nuclear Education, Science and Technology” (SAN-NEST).