Nuclear programme of South Africa

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As a member of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, South Africa uses nuclear science for peaceful means. South Africa's nuclear programme includes both nuclear energy and nuclear medicine. In the past there was also a military component.

Nuclear energy[edit]


Main article: Koeberg

The Koeberg nuclear power station is the only nuclear power station in South Africa and contains two uranium pressurised water reactors based on a design by Framatome of France. The station is located 30 km north of Cape Town. The plant is owned and operated by the country's national electricity supplier, Eskom.


The Pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR) was a particular design of pebble bed reactor under development by South African company PBMR (Pty) Ltd since 1994. The project entailed the construction of a demonstration power plant at Koeberg near Cape Town and a fuel plant at Pelindaba near Pretoria. However government financing was withdrawn in 2010 because of missed deadlines and lack of customers.[1]


The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) was established as a public company by the Republic of South Africa Nuclear Energy Act in 1999 and is wholly owned by the State. NECSA replaced the country's Atomic Energy Corporation. The main functions of NECSA are to undertake and promote research and development in the field of nuclear energy and related technologies; to process and store nuclear material and other restricted material; and to co-ordinate with other organisations in matters falling within these spheres.

The project is currently being dismantled.


The following South African universities offer courses in nuclear engineering:

Lobby groups[edit]


The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa, or NIASA is an industry association aiming to promote the public understanding of nuclear technology. It is a lobby group consisting of companies such as Eskom, PBMR, Areva and EDF.

Earthlife Africa[edit]

Earthlife Africa is an organisation vehemently campaigning against nuclear energy in South Africa. They believe its neither safe nor cost-effective.[2]


See also[edit]

Vela incident