As 2017 begins, financial pressures on companies such as Toshiba are casting doubt on some nuclear plans in the UK and USA, but elsewhere there have been significant and positive developments.
In Pakistan, on the 28th of December, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated unit 3 of the Chasma nuclear plant. After 5 years of construction, the Chinese CNP-300 pressurised water reactor went critical in October and was quickly connected to the grid. Pakistan now has three nuclear reactors and is planning on opening a fourth CNP-300 unit this year. The prime minister has said the country is committed to achieving 8800MW of nuclear power capacity by 2030.
South Africa plans to build plants with a capacity of 9,600MW and on the 20th of December the country’s energy company Eskom put the plan into motion. As part of the tender for the new plants they released a request for information about “experience related to recent nuclear project capacities and costs, proposed financing solutions and localisation opportunities”. The tender process will progress throughout 2017 with the aim of having the first new reactor connected by 2026.
Zambia also has plans to add to Africa’s nuclear capacity. On 7th December the government signed agreements with Russia’s Rosatom to build the countries first nuclear power plants. Zambia aims to have a nuclear plant built within 15 years, to provide at least 2GW of electricity as well as have uses for cancer treatment and irradiation of food.
Increasing numbers of countries are recognising the benefits of nuclear power. Whilst there are challenges involved, and ongoing delays to progress in some areas, 2017 should see more reactors come online, more plans finalised and more money invested in research. Too much development is still overly focused on old technology. If these emerging nuclear supporters want the best from the technology, they should pursue advanced nuclear.