Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation Rosatom participated in “Power Engineering: Strengthening South African Power Pool and Developing Water Security in South Africa” technical talk organized by South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) on July 23, 2020. The tech talks were part of the Nuclear Section framework recently launched by SAIEE in partnership with Rosatom.
Speaking at the event, acting Rosatom Central and Southern Africa CEO Mr. Ryan Collyer said, “The key challenge of water scarcity in Africa is an access to adequate water resources. A lot of energy is required for desalination of sea water, as well as for operation of the large pumping stations to move fresh water from rivers to consumers.”
He added, “ROSATOM has unique experience in the field of nuclear desalination, as well as the high-tech production base and the rich experience in creating world-class engineering facilities. Our aim is to give people access to clean water to improve living standards in Africa or elsewhere in the world.”
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), only nuclear reactors will be capable of producing ample energy required for large-scale desalination projects in the future. The existing Rosatom plants already offer desalination facilities that employ multi effect distillation technology and are integrated into a nuclear power station. Such installations use steam that has already been used for electricity production. The simultaneous production of electricity and desalinated water at Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) has proved its effectiveness thanks to a number of advantages: relatively low costs, sustainability (the use of a rather small amount of chemicals for the desalination process) as well as economies of scale. These NPPs produce large amounts of heat and steam that can offer desalinated water supply to serve up to 1 million people .
A facility of this kind has already been commissioned at the Kudankulam NPP in India producing 10,200 cubic meters of water per day. The purpose of the project was to obtain the water necessary for cooling during NPP operation, as well as to ensure drinking water supply to the population centres located nearby.
Rosatom in March introduced mobile water treatment and desalination solutions in the South Africa market during the Africa Energy Indaba Forum. This mobile water treatment solution included a fully containerized system mounted on the back of a standard one ton pickup truck. The units require minimal set up and can be operational within 6 minutes. They are then be deployed along rivers, dams or even the ocean with distribution of the clean water done onsite or can be transported by tankers and distributed to nearby residents. This was meant to be used as an intermediate solution for urban and rural areas in the nation that do not currently have access to clean water or are experiencing water disruptions.