South Africa is now manufacturing its own enriched uranium in a pilot plant and plans to open its first full-scale plant by 1980.
GV PAN Atomic Energy Board complex.
SV Sign, "Pelindaba Valindaba" at main entrance.
CU Atomic Energy Board Logo.
CU Restricted area sign ZOOM OUT TO Radio-active waste disposal unit.
GV ZOOM OUT Reactor building.
GV Physics building and Chemistry building (2 shots)
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Background: South Africa is now manufacturing its own enriched uranium in a pilot plant and plans to open its first full-scale plant by 1980.
Uranium enrichment is a vital process in the production of fuel for nuclear power stations. South Africa has rich deposits of uranium but at present it only exports it in a non-enriched form.
In disclosing the opening of the plant in Parliament early this month, Prime Minister John Vorster said the next step would be the marketing of a large portion of their uranium supplies in enriched form for commercial purposes.
The plant, which began operating in the first week of April, was built in 1971. It uses a unique process -- details of which will be disclosed at a conference on nuclear energy in Paris next week, according to the Chairman of the Republic's Atomic Energy Board.
The Minister of Mines, Dr. Piet Koornhof said the full-scale plant would be cheaper that any of the existing processes, but would still cost "hundreds of millions of rands".
It would earn South Africa 250 million rand (150 million pounds sterling) a year in foreign exchange, he said.