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products and services
PBMR is a multi-product enterprise that can access several markets and leverage its attractiveness in both electricity generation and process-heat markets.
While PBMR’s design and development efforts were initially focused mainly on electricity generation, it has become increasingly apparent that the high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor technology will also enable access to markets that call for process heat applications.
The high operating temperature of 900°C provides flexibility to generate process heat for a variety of industrial chemical processes, including coal liquefaction and the production of hydrogen in the longer term. Another PBMR design is aimed at steam process heat applications (500 MW) operating at 570°C, which provides the basis for penetrating the nuclear heat market as a viable alternative for carbon-burning, high-emission heat sources.
The South African Cabinet approved South Africa’s hydrogen and fuel cell strategy in May 2007. PBMR has been able to take the lead in providing a platform for business planning to develop nuclear hydrogen solutions aligned to South African businesses, universities, science councils and Necsa (the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation). The Department of Science and Technology has adopted this process as its own and it will form the basis of a hydrogen production hub and an associated business plan.
PBMR can contribute significantly to local economic growth and development by forming part of a technology-intensive nuclear manufacturing sector which could, in future, export this technology. The South African government furthermore recognizes the importance of energy security and supply. This calls for the development and deployment of new technologies in a sustainable, economic and environmentally sound manner. The PBMR technology serves to achieve this objective.
In house developed DAMD and VulaSHAKA™ software
DAMD:  Dust and Activation Migration and Distribution (DAMD) is an in house developed software product for helium pressure boundary source term analysis. In PBMR, DAMD was only used for scoping calculations, as it was still under development. Its function was helium pressure boundary source term analysis for different design alternatives during normal operations and accident conditions.
VulaSHAKA™:  VulaSHAKA™ stands for Open Simultaneous Neutronic, Fuel Performance, Heat And Kinetics Analysis. ‘Vula’ is the Zulu word for ‘open’ and Shaka was a famous Zulu king. ‘Open’ is important because this is open source software. VulaSHAKA™ was under development to solve neutronics, kinetics, thermal-fluids and fuel performance calculations of high temperature gas cooled reactors, with specific reference to pebble bed reactors. Applications for the VulaSHAKA trademark were filed in South Africa on 5 March 2010 and awarded on 3 April 2013. In PBMR, VulaSHAKA™ was only used for demonstration purposes, as it was still under development. It was intended for advanced reactor design analysis required for specialized calculations in the Safety Analyses Review (SAR) Stages 3 and 4. Neutronics, kinetics, thermal-fluids and fuel performance calculations of high temperature gas cooled pebble bed reactors are primarily solved using legacy codes. PBMR made a decision to develop this new code system and adopted an open source multi front development strategy. Implementation technologies were chosen based on a successful international track record, and modern well known existing integration and solver platforms. An evolutionary approach was adopted to use the existing code base where possible, but does not hold back new developments where needed. VulaSHAKA™ is primarily based on SALOME and OpenFOAM, with most of the newer software development done in Python and C++.
Last Updated: 16 May 2017
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