PLM for Nuclear Energy in South Africa

...Published 2013-11-01

Energy for the Future- South Africa

At this stage it is not a surprise to state that South Africa is currently suffering an uncertain future regarding its energy supply. This uncertainty extends from the funding/costing area into the generation technology mix (Coal/Gas, Hydro, Solar/Wind, Nuclear, Bio etc) and various stakeholders are affected by this uncertainty: state institutions (ESKOM), Independent Power Producers as well as industrial/commercial and domestic consumers not to mention the increasing demand from our neighboring countries.

One thing is certain however, the demand for energy is growing and is expected to reach between 56 710 and 77 960 MW by 2025, depending on the economic growth.
Currently our Government has indicated that circa 9 600 MW of new nuclear capacity is under consideration to meet a portion of this growth demand.

South Africa, encouragingly is also pursuing other low-carbon technologies as has been reflected in the prevailing Integrated Resource Plan, which incorporates a mix of the generation technologies, besides additional coal-fired generation.

South Africa has the additional advantage in having fourth largest reserves of uranium worldwide as well as the opportunity to beneficiate this important resource to enable us to produce nuclear fuel for our own plants and for export markets and ensure supply security.
In short, it makes no sense not to seriously consider Nuclear as a signification portion of the energy supply mix of the future.

National Nuclear Regulator- NNR
Regarding the NNR, as per their website: “The NNR is primarily mandated to monitor and enforce regulatory safety standards for the achievement of safe operating conditions, prevention of nuclear accidents or mitigation of nuclear accident consequences, resulting in the protection of workers, public, property and the environment against the potential harmful effects of ionizing radiation or radioactive material.”

It is mandatory for any entity operating with the nuclear environment in South Africa to be licensed as per the conditions laid out by the NNR. We as ESTEQ are proud to say that our clients using our PLM technologies have more easily and with greater efficiency been able to meet the strict conditions laid down by the regulator due to the strict configuration management principles and controlled access and availability of data with our PLM environment.

Nuclear Multi-Partnership
Of late, the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (Niasa) has been putting a strong focus on the importance of Nuclear in the power mix of the future. This not only relates to the power generation itself but the spin-off benefits such as high skill job creation- a Nuclear knowledge core to attract and retain these scare skill within the country.
An important criteria for long term success in meeting the increase in demand for electricity (In which Nuclear is seen to be an ever increasing element in the mix) is the ability to form meaningful partnerships of local Nuclear related expertise and the ability to collaborate effectively across this multi-partnership.

This core of nuclear knowledge typically could cover the following areas for example: Pure Research, Mining and Enrichment, Fuel Production, Waste, Reactor specialist knowledge-development and construction, Licensing &Safety, Nuclear Logistics and Supply chain, medical/industrial applications, Nuclear Civil Construction, Balance-of-Plant-Generation, Maintenance, International co-operation etc.

If a common PLM approach is taken across these areas, the ability to collaborate and share knowledge in a controlled way (under the watchful eye of the NNR) in this specialised field becomes a reality. This will increase the chances of success in meeting the demands of the future. It also allows an easier movement of people between organizations within the core using common philosophies, processes and PLM platform.

Research and Medical growth demand for Nuclear related products.
South Africa is well positioned to continue to supply Nuclear Medical products to the global market. The demand for these products continues to grow worldwide and South Africa can benefit from this demand.

There are not many suppliers globally that can supply these products to the market and longer term, this increase in demand means an extension of life of the current SAFARI 1 reactor or a replacement reactor in the near future. This presents opportunities for the Nuclear industry in terms of development, suppliers, contractors as well as maintenance, fuel supply, waste logistics and the requirement to manage all of this knowledge in the required way.

Successes – PBMR, Necsa, NTP, Koeberg
As you may be aware, Siemens PLM software leads the field regarding PLM solutions worldwide and South Africa is no exception, Siemens with ESTEQ has particular strength in the Nuclear environment locally.

Vision for PLM Nuclear in South Africa 
It is ESTEQ desire that we pull the various stakeholders related to Nuclear in South Africa together and provide a PLM technology platform as an enabler for the ‘Nuclear Multi-Partnership’ of the future.

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