South Africa will be hosting the 38th Expert Group Meeting and the 44th Policy Group meeting of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) in Cape Town from 16-20 October 2017.
The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) is an international co-operation initiative which was set up to carry out the research and development needed to establish the feasibility and performance capabilities of the next generation nuclear energy systems (widely referred to as Gen IV systems).
This Generation of reactors is a further improvement of Gen III and III+. These include improved fuel technology, superior thermal efficiency, passive an inherent safety systems and standardized design for reduced capital costs due to their modular and ease of deployment including inland where there is no need for cooling.
As founding members of GIF, South Africa alongside Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom and United States of America signed the GIF Charter in July 2001. This Charter was subsequently signed by Switzerland in 2002, Euratom in 2003, People's Republic of China, Russian Federation in 2006 and Australia in 2016.
The goals set as part of the motivation for undertaking research and development of these Gen IV systems include:
Sustainability - focus on fuel utilization and waste management;
Safety and reliability - focus on safe and reliable operation, accident avoidance and minimization of consequences, investment protection, and eliminating the technical need for off-site emergency response;
Economic competitiveness - focus on competitive life cycle and energy production costs and financial risk; and
Proliferation resistance and physical protection - focuses on safeguarding nuclear materials and facilities.
Guided by the goals identified above, six (6) Gen IV systems have been identified for focused future research and development. These are:
a) Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR),
b) Molten Salt Reactor (MSR),
c) Supercritical Water Cooled Reactor (SCWR),
d) Gas Cooled Fast Reactor (GFR),
e) Sodium Cooled Fast Reactor (SFR), and
f) Lead Cooled Fast Reactor (LFR).
Various teams working under six (6) System Arrangements, linked to each design undertake focused research and development work towards full demonstration and commercial deployment of these Gen IV systems. Depending on their respective degree of technical maturity, the first Generation IV systems are expected to be deployed commercially around 2030-2040.
The Department of Energy serves as the Implementing Agent for the Country on the GIF. South Africa is represented at the various GIF platforms, such as the Policy and Experts Group, as well as the Senior Industry Advisory Panel. Representatives are from various government departments and State Owned Entities.
The Deputy Minister of Energy, Ambassador Thembisile Majola will deliver the opening address at the Expert Group meeting on 16 October 2017, while the Minister of Energy, Ms. Mmamoloko Kubayi will deliver the opening address at the Policy Group meeting on 19 October 2017.
Given the important role South Africa plays in leading advanced nuclear reactor research and development, we continue to contribute at the technology forefront through our active participation at GIF to keep abreast of the latest developments in nuclear reactor technology developments globally.
Source: The Department of Energy, South Africa.