SOUTH AFRICA'S TURN TO HEAVY WATER TECHNOLOGY: HISTORY AND IMPLICATIONS (DELETE

Created: 4/9/1984

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Meanwhile, scientists at SASOL. investigated the heavy water enrichment potential of its plant. But, later technical. review|

|'indicated that there wasnterpretation of the results and the process did not work. ^|

South African open literature sources further claim that tht overall heavy water effort was oriented around the fact that heavy-water-moderated reactors were regarded as attractive in South Africa due to its vast uranium reserves

South Africa began extensive engineering studies for the Pelinduna concept The initial economic study, ndicated that PELINDUNA reactor components were optimized atower level egawatts-electrical (KWe). Scaled down components would be tested 0 megawatt-thermal reactor, however, beyond the engineering problems of this unconventional reactor concept, there purportedly was one problem that the South Africans did not believe was resolvable. The high specific power (which is the advantage of using molten saltoolant) meant that the smallest effective reactor fueled with natural uranium, which would fully utilize this power, wasWe. At that time, it was-deemed unlikely thatarge unit could be introduced into the South African electrical grid within the nextears. ^Therefore, the PELINDUNA power reactor concept was shelved.

by the, the South Afr generic heavy water reactor type as best sui They theneries of (PELINOMIC} simulations on the efficacy of different nuc Because of the uncertainties regarding unint enriched uranium from abroad, the South Afri iiatural uranium systems. They concluded tha ofWe size were economically compel coal fuel plants) in the Cape region.

considered the ted for South Africa computer-modeled lear power systems, errupted supply of cans onlyANDU-type reactor: itive (relative to

However, further economic studies showed that South Africa's electrical growth rate had beer- so steep as to be able toWe plant. At that time, the South Africans decided to select only proven power reactor concept ii - Meanvhi le, tho enr ichrtent process developed by the South African Uran ium Enrichment Corporation (UCOR) allayed concerns about long-term outside sources of enriched uranium, with these findings, AED turned away from heavy water technology to light water technology.

early the outgoing head of the* AEB, T.A- Houx, statedlant sizeullion SW (separative work unite) per year was needed to be competitive in the worldince there isarge world-wide oversupply of enriched uranium and enrichment plant capacity, the market for general export almost certainly does not exisr. Presumably for this reason (and in terras of capital cost of the plant) South Africa scaled down its proposed commercial plant to one-tenth of

-j- separative worK unitseans for expressing the effort required touantity of uranium enrichedpecifiedontent from feed material of lower content. About four separative work units are required to produce one kilogram of uranium enrichedercentfrom natural uranium-

>OUt

swu per yearnly enough to provide fueling reactors (hence to achieve self-sufficiency) and capacity forwe believe it is more excess was intended, in part, for making up unscheduled plant shutdowns.) B|

* time of Roux's statement, the senior UCOR plantplant stated that South Africa hadillion SWU annual capacity by the year .her indicated that his country did not consider to be an cconomicattractive way to expand.

RN NOCO^RAC'

TABLE

CAPACITIES OF SELECTED HEAVY-WATER REACTORS

Reactor (Country)

NRX Canada

CIRUS (India)

Agasta (Sweden)

Power Level in Megawatts

(thermal/ electrical)

Heavy Water

Charge metric tons

17

2

heavy water moderated light water-cooled

heavy water moderated light water-cooled

heavy water moderated and cooled

CI RENE (Italy)

KANUPP (Pakistan)

136

some low enriche uranium fuel

heavy water moderated and cooled

(Sweden)

Fugon (Japan)

Gentilly (Canada)

Argentina)

Pickering (Canada)

HO

212

300

500

water moderated light water-cooled

heavy water moderated 1ight water-coo1ed, uses some low enriched uranium and plutor.ium fuel

heavy water moderated 1ight

heavy water moderated coo1ed

heavy water moderated and cooled

Thib table is undue! Iied.

NO CO;

SECRET NOE^Jr

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