Algeria Explores Involvement with South Africa's Pebble Bed Reactor
February 9, 2010 • 10:25AM

The chairman of Algeria's Atomic Energy Commission (Comena), Dr. M. Derdour, is now in South Africa to pursue involvement in the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor, both for electricity generation and desalination of water. A press release issued today by PBMR reports that Algeria is exploring use of the small modular high-temperature reactors to reduce its reliance on hydrocarbons and provide power and water for its inland villages.

Also under discussion are strategic partnerships in training and skills development in nuclear technologies and nuclear safety at an experimental PBMR reactor, and the supply of purified helium for PBMR.

Dr. Derdour stated: "We plan to build 1,000 megawatts-electric of nuclear capacity by 2022 and 2,400 MWe by 2027. Since this power is needed for both electricity generation and desalination, the pebble bed technology seems to be an extremely attractive option.... Algeria has atomic energy agreements with Argentina, China, France and the United States. We also have two research reactors, which were built by Argentina and China respectively."

Jaco Kriek, CEO of PBMR Ltd., said that Algeria's interest in the PBMR technology opens a real opportunity for two African countries to cooperate on nuclear. "South Africa has a long relationship with Algeria, including the signing in 2003 of a Memo Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of nuclear and radiation sciences between Comena and South Africa's Department of Science and Technology. "We believe the PBMR technology is ideal for a country such as Algeria with its need for clean water. We would therefore very much welcome Comena's involvement in the PBMR Company."

South Africa's PBMR is now involved in domestic budget discussions with the government, whose financial support for the project runs out in March.