Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • South Africa could build continent's first synchrotron


If growing local and international interest comes to fruition, South Africa could build the continent's first synchrotron — an electron accelerator that could be used to develop new industrial products and medicines.

A synchrotron can accelerate electrons to nearly the speed of light. The electromagnetic radiation this process generates means the apparatus can be used like a giant X-ray machine to determine the molecular structure of materials or organisms — such as viruses. The project would cost tens of millions of US dollars and would take ten to 15 years to realise.

South Africa's Department of Science and Technology is promoting the plan, first mooted by an engineer at the country's Nuclear Energy Corporation. According to the online news agency Africa Intelligence, France and the United States have expressed interest in backing the project, and a feasibility study will be commissioned soon.

Link to full Business Report news story

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.