Russian nuclear generator expanding into South Africa’s small hydro market

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South Africa platinum producer Lonmin PLC has announced a partnership with Russian nuclear power giant Rusatom to develop a pilot small hydropower project beginning next month.

Announced during Power-Gen Africa this week, the US$40 million, 2 MW plant will reportedly use equipment manufactured by Hungary’s Ganz Engineering & Energy Production Machinery, with South Africa’s Blue World Power Systems acting as distributor.

The project will be installed at a Lonmin site in Rustenburg, which is located in South Africa’s North West Province.

Lonmin officials hope the project will lead to more like it, with the hope that localized small hydro plants at its mining operations can help reduce its use of fossil-fueled generating assets.

According to company officials, Ganz’s hydro generators are modular plug-and-play units that qualify for exclusion from South Africa’s environmental impact assessment process due to their low impact.

The partnership is also part of Rosatom‘s effort to diversify its market. The Russian conglomerate is also beginning to manufacture and install wind turbines.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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