The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation SOC Limited (Necsa) is mandated to undertake and promote research and development (R & D) in the field of nuclear energy and radiation sciences and technology.
The company is also responsible for processing source material, special nuclear material and restricted material and to reprocess and enrich these.
Subject to approval by the Minister of Energy, who is the sole shareholder representing the South African Government, Necsa co-operates with any person or institution in matters falling within its mandated functions.
Necsa is committed to carrying out its mandate in a manner that strictly adheres to all the measures that are put in place to protect the environment and the people of South Africa.
To pursue nuclear technology excellence for sustainable social and economic development.
To develop, utilise and manage nuclear technology for national and regional socio-economic development through:
- Applied R&D
- Commercial application of nuclear and associated technology
- Contributing to the development of skills in science and technology
- Total commitment to health, safety and care for the environment
- Developing and empowering our human resource base
- Fulfilling the State’s nuclear obligations
- Satisfying stakeholder expectations.
Necsa is responsible for processing source material, including uranium enrichment, and co-operating with other institutions, locally and abroad, on nuclear and related matters for the promotion of socio-economic development in South Africa as well as R&D in the field of nuclear energy and radiation sciences.
Apart from its main activities at Pelindaba, which include operation and utilisation of the SAFARI-1 research reactor, Necsa also manages and operates the Vaalputs National Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility in the Northern Cape on behalf of the National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute (NRWDI).
Necsa engages in commercial business mainly through its wholly-owned commercial subsidiaries NTP Radioisotopes SOC Ltd (NTP), which is responsible for a range of radiation-based products and services for healthcare, life sciences and industry, and Pelchem SOC Ltd (Pelchem), which supplies fluorine and fluorine-based products. Both subsidiaries, together with their subsidiaries, supply local and foreign markets, earning valuable foreign exchange for South Africa.
South Africa’s foray into nuclear research and development started in 1944 following a request by the United Kingdom for assistance in obtaining uranium. After World War II, interest in the extraction of uranium oxide continued from the USA and UK for medical and economic purposes in addition to military use.
This led to the establishment in February 1946 of the “Uranium Research Committee” and in September 1948, the South African Atomic Energy Board (AEB) was constituted. Following international developments in nuclear power and radioisotope applications, construction of the National Nuclear Research Centre, including the SAFARI-1 Research Reactor, started at Pelindaba in 1961.
Nearly ten years later, in 1970, the Uranium Enrichment Corporation (UCOR) was created and tasked to establish a nuclear fuel cycle programme at Valindaba, adjacent to the then Pelindaba site. The ostensible aim was to investigate the feasibility of nuclear explosives for non-military applications. However, due to a growing global nuclear threat, the emphasis changed in 1977 to a strategic nuclear weapons deterrent capability and in November 1979 South Africa’s first nuclear device was equipped with highly enriched uranium.
The application of nuclear technology in civilian nuclear power generation really took off in 1978 with construction of the “Z” Enrichment Plant in Pelindaba, approximately 30km west of Pretoria. A fuel element manufacturing facility for Koeberg Nuclear Power Station started production about a decade later in 1987.
Meanwhile, the Nuclear Energy Act of 1982 renamed the AEB to NUCOR and combined it with UCOR under the Atomic Energy Corporation (AEC) as controlling body. On 1 July 1985, the NUCOR and UCOR subsidiaries were combined into the Atomic Energy Corporation. The current Nuclear Energy Act transitioned the AEC to the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation – Necsa.
Registered Company Name : The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation SOC Ltd
Date of Incorporation: 24 February 2000
Trading Name: Necsa
SA company registration number: 2000/003735/06
VAT-registration number: 4950106064