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Staff News

Congratulations Zake Qina!

Zake Qina, Necsa electrician apprentice, obtained 1st position with 97% at the Gauteng Skills Competition. He will represent Gauteng at the National Skills Competition from 13 – 16 February 2017 in Durban. He will be accompanied by his mentor Mr. Dries Van Dyk.

Congratulations to Linina Jurbandam

Ms Linina Jurbandam, an Intern at the Radiation & Reactor Theory Section of Research & Development, received the Wits University Post-Graduate Masters Merit Award for 2017. We want to congratulate her on this award, which is based solely on meritorious achievement and progress in the research being carried out. Thanks are due to her mentor, Dr Oscar Zamonsky.

Congratulations Mr Bernard Schlünz

We would like to congratulate Bernard Schlünz on obtaining his PhD during a graduation ceremony on 8 December 2016 in Stellenbosch. This is a laudable achievement!

The work for his PhD dissertation, entitled: MICFMO for Nuclear Research Reactors, was done under the supervision of Dr Pavel Bokov from Necsa and Prof Jan van Vuuren from the Stellenbosch University.

Congratulations Mr Bernard Schlünz

We would like to congratulate Mr Bernard Schlünz who was awarded the very prestigious: Category IV recognition award: To an upcoming member of age 35 or below for excellence in Operations Research practice by the Operational Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA) at their recent annual conference.

The award recognised the work performed by Mr Schlünz at Necsa, concerning fuel loading pattern optimisation at the SAFARI-1 Research Reactor. This was also the topic of his PhD dissertation under the supervision of Dr Pavel Bokov from Necsa and Prof Jan van Vuuren from the Stellenbosch University.

Congratulations Janie Duvenhage

Necsa, Radiochemistry would like to congratulate Janie Duvenhage on obtaining her MSc (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria.
Her dissertation was entitled “Radiolabelled antibodies as a detection tool for malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum 3D7)-infected human erythrocytes”.  The study was a joint effort between Necsa and UP with  Prof  Lyn-Marie Birkholtz from UP as promoter and Prof Jan Rijn Zeevaart (Necsa) as co-promoter.  Janie was a NTeMBI bursar and is currently working as a NRF funded PDP PhD in Radiochemistry, R&D division. We congratulate Janie on this excellent achievement!

Congratulations Tebogo Basinyi

Necsa, Radiochemistry would like to congratulate Tebogo Basinyi on obtaining his MSc (cum laude) from the North West University.
His dissertation was entitled “Establishment of a Zr(IV) blood plasma model”. The study was a joint effort between Necsa and NWU with Prof Jan Rijn Zeevaart from Necsa as promoter as well as Prof Victor Tshivhase (NWU) and Ms Lebogang Sepini (Necsa) as co-promoters.  We congratulate Tebogo on this excellent achievement!

Congratulations Lamlile Khumalo

Lamlile Khumalo from Radioanalysis group, graduated with a Master of Science (Environmental Science) from UNISA on 04 October 2016. Lamlile`s research project was titled: Application of biological sample oxidiser and low-level liquid scintillation counter for the determination of 14C and 3H content in water from the Haartbeespoort Dam in North West Province. She was supervised by Dr Molahlehi Sonopo of RadioChemistry and was Co-supervised by Prof Shadung Moja of Council for GeoScience. We would like to congratulate Lamlile and her supervisors on this accomplishment.

The members of ERPEV team

The Inland members of ERPEV (Emergency Preparedness Review) team led by DOE held their workshop from 12 – 13 September 2016 at  The NVC (Necsa Visitor Centre). In continuation of addressing the suggestions and recommendations—the (IAEA) International Atomic Energy Agency  conducted an EPREV Mission in South Africa from 02 – 12 February 2014; the IAEA identified numerous areas of good practises and areas for improvement.

The inland EPREV team had a very successful workshop and for this they are very grateful to the management of The NVC for assistance with the venue

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Congratulations Charles de Bruyn!

Congratulations to Charles from Necsa Emergency Services for obtaining your Degree in Fire Technology on 20 September 2016 from TUT (Tshwane University of Technology)! So good to have someone totally knowledgeable in fire fighting on Necsa's site!

Introducing Necsa's SAYNPS Chapter Executive Committee

The South African Young Nuclear Professionals Society (SAYNPS) is a youth organisation in the nuclear industry and academia. We are a non-profit organisation that was established in 2002. We are committed to the ideals of environmentally friendly, peaceful and safe uses of nuclear science and technology.

We encourage youth to participate in nuclear activities through studying, conducting research and publication of research papers peer reviewed journals. We also encourage the youth to participate effectively and adequately in the activities of the International Youth Nuclear Congress under the auspices of the Department of Energy.

The term of office for chapter executive committee members is three years. It is a great pleasure for us to introduce to you the SAYNPS Necsa Chapter Executive Committee Members. We would like to wish the new committee all the best in executing their functional mandate.

Executive Members:

  • Chairperson: Precious Tshidada
  • Deputy Chairperson: Reneé Brooks
  • Secretary: Rebaone Gaven
  • Deputy Secretary: Emmanuel Montwedi
  • Treasurer: Mina Baloyi

South African Young Nuclear Professionals Society (SAYNPS)

The South African Young Nuclear Professionals Society (SAYNPS) participated in this year’s edition of the International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC) held on 24–30 July 2016 in Hangzhou, China. The IYNC 2016 was attended by over 400 delegates from 32 countries from all over the world. South Africa was among the 23 countries that presented their country reports on their activities and current nuclear industry developments in their respective countries. The IYNC2016 was full of technical sessions and tours around the different nuclear facilities.
During the Congress the African Young Generation Network (AYGN) was formally established and will be officially launched in March 2017 Nairobi Kenya. The AYGN will ensure that the African youth organise themselves, form their respective country’s young generation networks and actively participate in the IYNC activities. The AYGN interim committee was also elected.

Executive Committee
President: Mr Gaopalelwe Santswere (South Africa)
Vice President: Mr Jeremiah Mbazor (Nigeria)
Secretary General: Ms Pamella Kageliza (Kenya)
Treasurer: Mr Mbuyiseni Nkosi (South Africa)

Regional Representatives
North Africa: Ms Aya Hamdy (Egypt)
West Africa: Mr Wilcox Jeffrey (Nigeria)
East Africa: Mr Bernard O’chieng (Kenya)
Southern Africa: Ms Philisile Munetsi (South Africa)

Additional Members
Ms Kefilwe Mookodi (South Africa)
Mr Abdul-Karim Barrie (Senegal)

Mr Gaopalelwe Santswere has also been nominated to Chair the IYNC Bylaws Review Committee supported by SAYNPS and all other members from different young generation networks. This will be presented and formally adopted during the 10th edition of the biennial IYNC which will be organised in Bariloche, Argentina. We would like to urge our members to submit their research papers in time when the call is made.

Congratulations to Anita Wright

We would like to congratulate Ms Anita Wright  from Human Resources on obtaining her degree: BA (HSS) Human Social Science; Applied Psychology for Professional context from the University of South Africa (UNISA) during the official graduation on 10 July 2016.  She started her studies in 2010 through the Necsa's Study Assistance Scheme (SAS) and completed in 2015.

We congratulate Anita for being such an inspiration as working Mother and Grandmother at 47!

Mrs Tina Eboka

Mrs Tina Eboka, NTP GMD (left) elected to serve as Vice-President of the HLG-MR. She is seated next to the President of the HLG-MR and the Secretariat. 
Congratulations NTP's Group MD, Tina Eboka on her election as the Vice Chairperson of the High-level Group on the security of supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR)!

This is truly a momentous occasion for NTP and South Africa!

In 2009/10 the world experienced a global shortage of Molybdenum (Mo-99) and Technetium (Tc-99), both essential medical radioisotopes. Therefore the HLG-MR was established by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) with the main objective being to identify the causes of the supply shortage, while compiling a policy approach to ensure long term security of supply.

Forty experts represent the governments of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Poland, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as from the European Commission (Euratom Supply Agency) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Necsa Group is proud, South Africa is proud!

 “This is a great honour for South Africa and a wonderful opportunity for NTP to demonstrate global leadership in this crucial arena!" - Piet Louw (Executive Manager, Global Isotopes)

Tina, we heard you say:  “It may be very, very lonely sometimes being a leader.”  But Team NTP assures you that you are not alone on this journey!

You also said,  "So every day the landscape changes – at NTP, in our country and in our world.  But let me tell you what gets me up in the morning…the vision I have to be a part of the team at NTP – who can change the world:  One Curie of Moly at a time. One patient treatment at a time. One happy employee at a time. One more Rand, Dollar or Euro at a time."

So from the Necsa Group- Thank you for playing your part in changing our world for the better!

Congratulations to Maurice Mashau

We would like to congratulate Mr Maurice Mashau from the Radiation and Reactor Theory (RRT) Section of R&D/RS on obtaining his Master’s Degree in Energy studies with distinction on 14 June 2016.

His supervisor at UJ was Prof SH Connell and his co-supervisors at RRT were Dr RH Prinsloo and Mr B Erasmus.

His dissertation was entitled: “Simulation of a Selected Subset of The Recently Published IAEA Reactor Experimental Benchmark Set in Aid of Verification and Validation of the OSCAR-4 System.”

We are proud of you Maurice!

Congratulations to Linina Jurbandam

We would like to congratulate Ms Linina Jurbandam, a SANHARP student from the Radiation and Reactor Theory (RRT) Section of R&D/RS on winning the first prize for the best oral Honours presentation in the Nuclear, Particle and Radiation Physics Specialist Group at the South African Institute of Physics Annual Conference. Dr Oscar Zamonsky is her supervisor at Necsa needs to be mentioned as he is supporting her in all her endeavours.

It was an amazing achievement as it was in the context of a well subscribed set of sessions with many excellent contributions of a very high standard. Linina's presentation was entitled "Evaluation of Fission Energy Deposition in the SAFARI-1 Nuclear Reactor".

Congratulations to Rendani Madzia!

Radiation Protection Training Centre (RPTC) is proud to announce that Rendani Madzia. Née: Ramabulane has done it again! She obtained her Masters degree with distinction and graduated on 14 June 2016 at the University of Johannesburg. Her supervisors Dr. RD Mavunda of RPTC (Necsa) and Dr TB Madala of the University of Johannesburg are delighted with her achievement.

Another excellent performance by a Necsa team!

We are proud to announce that the Diffraction Group of the Radiation Science Department of the R&D Division made it to the finals of the NSTF awards in the category “Research leading to Innovation by a Corporate Organisation”. As such the team members will already receive certificates of merit even though the over-all winning team still has to be announced at a prestigious function on 30 June 2016.

The team was nominated for the development of two world-class neutron diffraction instruments, MPISI and PITSI, at the SAFARI-1 research reactor. SAFARI-1 is a national asset with an impeccable safety and operational record. The development of world-class neutron instruments for niche applications is important to expand its institutional value even further. The resulting suite of non-destructive experimental techniques offered by the two new instruments benefits many materials related research fields. This is made possible because neutrons probe deep into materials to reveal information about atomic and magnetic properties at the micro-structural level, providing a powerful diagnostic for researchers in fields such as advanced manufacturing, metallurgy, nuclear materials and mineral beneficiation, all disciplines at the root of a knowledge economy.

The team of multi-disciplinary subject experts was led by Dr Venter, an expert in neutron diffraction science. The respective roles played were:

  • AM Venter: Scientific group leader.
  • PR van Heerden: Development and integration of mechanical subsystems.
  • JC Raaths: Integration of electronic and neutron detector systems.
  • D Marais: Customisation of software control system and development of data acquisition and treatment modalities.  
  • M Hayes, TP Ntsoane and ZN Sentsho: Scientific commission, testing and validation

Congratulations to Saymore Chifamba

Mr Saymore Chifamba, a recently graduated M’SONE student in Radiation and Reactor Theory (RRT), received the Chancellor's medal for the best Master’s student in the Faculty of Science for 2015 at the University of Johannesburg.  He received the award at the graduation ceremony that was held on 14 June 2016. Mr Chifamba conducted the research for his dissertation in the RRT Section of R&D/RS, under the supervision of Ms Danniëll Botes and Dr Pavel Bokov. His study leader at the University of Johannesburg was Prof Azwinndini Muronga.

Details about the Chancellor’s medal award can be can be found here.

We would like to congratulate Saymore on this extraordinary achievement!

Congratulations to Mafihla Maleka: 2nd Prize winner of WINS's Fist Academy Alumni Challange

We are proud to announce that Mafihla Maleka was selected as the second prize winner of the Challenge.  The first Advancing Nuclear Security Challenge for Academy Alumni invited WINS Certified Nuclear Security Professionals (CNSPs) to share their experience with the WINS Academy, discuss how the WINS Academy Programme contributes to their professional development and how such development leads to tangible results in their organisations.

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Congratulations to Tsakane Oseile

Ms Tsakane Oseile from Property Management and Support, has obtained her Masters in Business Leadership at the University of South Africa (UNISA). The title of her dissertation was: The issues of innovation strategy at Necsa: prospects and challenges. Tsakane was supervised by Prof Zake-Serumuga from UNISA. We congratulate Tsakane on this excellent achievement!

Congratulations to Kefilwe Thoane

Ms Kefilwe Thoane, former Radiochemistry student and now working at Industrial Isotope Technology (IIT), Pelindaba Enterprises, has successfully obtained her Masters (with distinction) in Applied Radiation Science and Technology from North West University, Mafikeng. The title of her dissertation was: Production of 117mSn with high specific activity by recoil

Kefliwe was supervised by Prof Jan Rijn Zeevaart (Necsa) and co-supervised by Dr David Jansen.

Mafihla Maleka Manager: Physical Security

In the WINS (World Institute for Nuclear Security) September 2015 newsletter, the Academy reported Mafihla Maleka as a participant from South Africa, who became the very first graduate in Nuclear Security Incident Management after successfully passing the Elective for Security Incident Managers.

Congratulations to Rendani Madzhie

Rendani Madzhie a Masters students in Biochemistry at the University of Johannesburg whose paper was accepted and published by ELSEVIER: Science Direct.

She is co-supervised  by Dr RD Mavunda of Radiation Protection Training Centre (RPTC), Necsa.


Oxidative stress is a condition in which the balance between the production and elimination of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is disturbed. However, plants have developed a very sophisticated mechanism to mitigate the effect of ROS by constantly adjusting the concentration thereof to acceptable levels. Electromagnetic radiation is one of the factors which results in oxidative stress. In the current study, ionizing gamma radiation generated from a Cobalt-60 source was used to induce oxidative stress in Phaseolus vulgaris seedlings. Plants were irradiated with several radiation doses, with 2 kGy found to be the optimal, non-lethal dose. Metabolite distribution patterns from irradiated and non-irradiated plants were analyzed using UHPLC-qTOF-MS and multivariate data models such as principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal projection to latent structures discriminate analysis (OPLS-DA). Metabolites such as hydroxycinnamic phenolic acids, flavonoids, terpenes, and a novel chalcone were found to be perturbed in P. vulgaris seedlings treated with the aforementioned conditions. The results suggest that there is a compensatory link between constitutive protectants and inducible responses to injury as well as defense against oxidative stress induced by ionizing radiation. The current study is also the first to illustrate the power of a metabolomics approach to decipher the effect of gamma radiation on crop plants.

© 2015 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Congratulations to Linina Jurbandam

We would like to congratulate Ms Linina Jurbandam, a SANHARP student from the Radiation and Reactor Theory (RRT) Section of R&D/RS on obtaining her BSc Hons in Physics at the WITS University.

Dr Iyabo Usman was her study leader for WITS and Dr Oscar Zamonsky was her study leader at Necsa. She is continuing her studies towards her MSc in Nuclear Engineering at RRT under the supervision of Dr Oscar Zamonsky.

We congratulate Linina on this excellent achievement!

Congratulations to Dr Mpho Lekgoathi

We would like to congratulate Dr. Mpho Lekgoathi, a senior scientist in the Delta F section of Applied Chemistry (R&D Division), on obtaining his PhD degree in Chemical Technology at the University of Pretoria.  His thesis was titled “High purity LiPF6: Its physical properties and the synthesis of PF5 gas as precursor for LiPF6 production”, prepared under supervision of Prof. P.L. Crouse of UP, with Dr. L.D. Kock of Necsa R&D as co-supervisor.

In this thesis an improvement to the process of synthesising lithium hexafluorophosphate for applications in lithium-ion batteries is proposed.  The new process is the result of an ancillary, but relevant, investigation into the preparation of pure phosphorus pentafluoride gas, supported by an experimental and theoretically calculated infrared and Raman vibrational analysis.  The new process has laid a foundation for future research into the production of electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries and is being patented. 

This work also led to the publication of four papers in peer reviewed journals.  In addition, Dr. Lekgoathi received a Merit Certificate for Academic Colours from the UP Student Representative Council.

We congratulate Mpho on these excellent achievements!