Gas, Reactors

Forces unite to develop pebble bed technology

14 March 2005 – The next generation of nuclear reactor has moved a step closer after Chinese and South African developers of pebble bed technology signed a memorandum of understanding to develop demonstration projects.

The memorandum was signed by Chinergy, of China, whose pebble bed design is based on a 10 MW research reactor that began generation in Beijing late in 2000, and PBMR, who has been developing pebble bed technology in South Africa since 1993.

Over the next five years both companies will design, develop and construct a high temperature reactor demonstration plant. However, while both nations will house a plant using the same pebble fuel theory for heat, each plant will differ in terms of power conversion systems. The HTR plant in China will use indirect cycle, steam turbines, while the HTR plant in South Africa will be direct cycle gas turbine systems.

Frank Wu, CEO of Chinergy, said: “While the two projects have chosen slightly different technical approaches, we both fully believe that High Temperature Gas Cooled reactors using pebble fuel, offer the most potential for commercially meeting the future environmental needs of the global power generation industry.”