Jack Ponton, Emeritus Professor of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering: Most renewable energy enthusiasts now seem to understand that powering a modern society will require something else in addition to intermittent electricity generation. The currently fashionable ’something else’ is storage. This paper will discuss storage technologies, Britain’s current facilities and what might be needed to provide reliable power from wind, solar and tidal generation. There seems to be no possibility that any existing storage technology can handle the intermittency of wind generation. Solar plus battery storage is probably already cost-competitive for locations in or near the tropics, where year-round load factors are acceptable and so only overnight storage is required. In the UK, low winter load factors mean that essentially no useful generation takes place in December and January.
Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and Chairman of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation and Nuclear Africa (Pty) Ltd: This is a broad brush picture of the nuclear power situation here. South Africa is the only country in Africa which has a nuclear power station. It is ‘Koeberg’ and it is situated close to Cape Town. It has been running for over 30 years and is recognised as one of the best run nuclear power stations in the world. A number of previous Koeberg senior managers and staff (about 80) are currently at the Baraka nuclear plant in the UAE, in significant positions, bringing that nuclear power station online.
Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and Chairman of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation and Nuclear Africa (Pty) Ltd: This article explains how nuclear can use coal to create petrol for many transportation applications. Somewhat more than a third of South Africa’s petrol is derived from coal via the SASOL operation. When South Africa was developing its own SMR the PBMR, SASOL was interested in building a PBMR near one of the catalytic cracking plants to supply process heat. At present the largest SASOL plant is in a town called Secunda. It burns coal to provide the process heat to crack the rest of the coal. About 60% of the coal brought into Secunda is burnt to provide the heat to crack the other 40%. So the idea was to build the SMR of about 100MW and then to use its heat directly to chemically process 100% of the coal to liquid fuels, including diesel, aviation fuel and so on. This was projected to be able to reduce the cost of petrol significantly.
Brian Wang: China was planning to use Westinghouse AP1000 and French EPR (Evolutionary Power Reactor) nuclear reactors. China normally completes nuclear reactors in 4-5 years and at a half or a third of the price of nuclear construction in the USA and Europe. China just finished its first EPR reactor but it was five years late and about double the budget. China has also completed several AP1000 reactors but there were delays and budget overruns as well. Westinghouse and Toshiba went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017.