Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and Chairman of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation and Nuclear Africa (Pty) Ltd: This article explains how nuclear can use coal to create petrol for many transportation applications. Somewhat more than a third of South Africa’s petrol is derived from coal via the SASOL operation. When South Africa was developing its own SMR the PBMR, SASOL was interested in building a PBMR near one of the catalytic cracking plants to supply process heat. At present the largest SASOL plant is in a town called Secunda. It burns coal to provide the process heat to crack the rest of the coal. About 60% of the coal brought into Secunda is burnt to provide the heat to crack the other 40%. So the idea was to build the SMR of about 100MW and then to use its heat directly to chemically process 100% of the coal to liquid fuels, including diesel, aviation fuel and so on. This was projected to be able to reduce the cost of petrol significantly.
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