NECSA moves forward to replace SAFARI-1 reactor

The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) has released the Request for Information (RFI) for the Multi-purpose Reactor (MPR) to replace its nuclear research reactor. Cabinet approved the implementation of the project last year.

“The MPR is intended to replace the SAFARI-1 research reactor which is 56 years old and currently under care and age management,” NECSA spokesperson Nikelwa Tengimfene said.

“The reactor remains recognised as an African resource and centre of excellence in nuclear science and technology, which is highly respected by the international research reactor community.”

Loyiso Tyabashe, Group Chief Executive Officer of Necsa said te RFI process will assist NECSA in sourcing critical market inputs and validation of parameters to be deployed in the MPR financial model and also enable refinement of the project user requirement specification. “This is in line with the process that needs to be followed leading to the searching for appointment of a preferred supplier for the construction of the MPR. The MPR will continue producing medical radioisotopes, which are used to treat thousands of patients diagnosed with cancer all over the world.”

NTP Radioisotopes, a wholly owned Necsa subsidiary, is amongst the top four global producers of radioisotopes, a nuclear product that is used for medical and industrial applications. The replacement of the SAFARI-1 reactor is part of efforts to keep its position as one of the top four producers of radioisotopes. “Necsa has highly qualified technical experts who have been running the SAFARI-1 since its commissioning in 1965. A good maintenance and aging management programme is also in place to make sure that there is smooth transition from SAFARI-1 to the MPR with no operational gaps or glitches,” he said.

According to David Nicholls, Chairperson of the Necsa Board of Directors, the MPR will create about 750 full- time jobs and additional 3 800 indirect jobs for its operation and fulfilment of its research mandate during its operational lifetime.

“Necsa, in collaboration with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, is committed on delivering the multi-purpose reactor that will keep South Africa in the top global countries with an efficient research reactor. It is important to note that Necsa will not award any contract as a result of this process, as it is purely for information gathering purposes,’ Tengimfene said.

Respondents may choose to respond to all aspects of the RFI or select specific aspects based on their area of interest, expertise, and capabilities. The RFI is available on the Necsa website and also published in the National Treasury tender platform as well as global websites such as www.globaltenders.com and www.ontimetenders.com.