In an historic ceremony last Friday, the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory and the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will see the two organisations share information on their respective complementary capabilities. This will help identify opportunities for collaboration/joint working on specific R&D projects or programmes for mutual benefit.
Key areas which fall within the remit of the MOU include: – decommissioning, waste management and disposal – fuel cycle operations and scenario analysis – material irradiations and handling of irradiated materials – radiochemistry and radioactivity in the environment – management and assessment of nuclear liabilities – material science applications in the nuclear industry – future reactor systems and the associated fuel cycle. Dr Peter Bleasdale, Managing Director of the National Nuclear Laboratory and Dr Rob Adam, Chief Executive Officer of NECSA signed the agreement at NECSA’s offices in Pretoria, South Africa on Friday 28th November. About National Nuclear Laboratory The National Nuclear Laboratory, established in July 2008, will become an international centre of excellence in nuclear research and development, playing a vital role in cleaning up the UK’s nuclear waste legacy and contributing to the programme of nuclear new build and to safeguard the UK’s high-tech nuclear expertise, facilities and skills. The NNL was created from the capability residing in Nexia Solutions Limited, the leading nuclear technology company.The maintenance and growth of strategically important technology skills is fundamental as the nuclear industry evolves on so many fronts. Prior to the creation of the NNL, the UK strategy was to preserve a minimum capability to act as a solid foundation and provide early support to a revival in the UK nuclear industry.With that revival gathering momentum, the need for skills is growing and will continue to grow as the industry ramps up. The NNL will speed up skills development and grow the technology capability.About NecsaNecsa main functions include undertaking and promoting research and development in the field of nuclear energy and radiation sciences and technology; processing source material, special nuclear material and restricted material; and co-operating with persons in matters falling within these functions. Apart from its main operations at Pelindaba, Necsa also operates the Vaalputs radioactive waste-disposal facility.Necsa employs some 1400 people in diverse areas such as physics engineering, chemistry and electronics. The research re-actor at Pelindaba, SAFARI-1, is now the most commercialised such reactor in the world with ISO 9001 accreditation and is earns South Africa millions of Rands’ worth of foreign revenue.