NE Seminar: “Introduction to the South African National Nuclear Regulator: Past, Present and Future Licensing


1:50 pm-2:50 pm
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Mzubanzi Tyobeka, Ph.D.
National Nuclear Regulator, South Africa

Dr. Mzubanzi Tyobeka was appointed by the Minister of Energy as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Nuclear Regulatory of South Africa since September 2013. 

He started his nuclear career 19 years ago as a reactor Physicists at Eskom Enterprises, the South African Electricity Utility Company, before moving on to the roles of Senior Physicist at Eskom Enterprises, Chief Nuclear Engineering Analyst at PBMR Pty Ltd, and Nuclear Engineer and Unit Head: Gas-Cooled Reactors at the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA in (Austria, Vienna). During his tenure at the IAEA Dr. Tyobeka was also involved in the IAEA team that advises Member States in the development of new nuclear power programs. He was involved with countries in Africa, South East Asia, Europe and Latin America. He has also been a visiting Scholar at the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (Netherlands) and the International Research Associate (Idaho National Laboratory, USA). 

Amongst many high-profile national and international leadership roles; Dr. Tyobeka is the Chairperson of the Council of the North-West University; the second largest university in South Africa since March 2017. He previously served as a Member of the University Council, including being a Chairperson of NWU Council’s Transformation Oversight Committee and Executive Committee of Council since November 2014. 

Additionally, Dr. Tyobeka, as an internationally acclaimed nuclear engineering expert currently serves as the Member of the International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group (INSAG) appointed by the IAEA Director-General for the period 2016 – 2020. He also serves as a Chairman of the Regulatory Cooperation Forum under the auspices of the IAEA. He is also a member of the IAEA’s Technical Working Group on Nuclear Knowledge Management. In May 2017 at the International Atomic Energy Agency Headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Dr.Tyobeka was elected President of the 6th Review Meeting of Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Safety of Spent Nuclear Fuel Management and Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (Joint Convention). He presided over the 6th Review Meeting during the period 21 May till 01 June 2018 and will continue to serve in this capacity for a three-year term. 

Recently, Dr. Tyobeka was appointed by the Minister of Trade and Industry as a member of the South African Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction for a period of five years, from 01 July 2019 to 30 June 2024. 

He holds a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering both from the Pennsylvania State University, USA, a Master’s degree in Applied Radiation Science and Technology from North-West University, South Africa, a Master’s degree in Management specializing in Project Management from Colorado Technical University in the USA, and a Bachelors’ degree in Physics and Chemistry from the North-West University in South Africa. 


The presentation will orient the audience about the history and makeup of the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), its legislative origin as well as the regulatory framework. Further, the presentation will also present past regulatory projects. Ongoing regulatory projects and future ones will be highlighted, within the context of the Long Term Operation of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant and the country’s planned new nuclear build project.

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Materials Science & Engineering Dept.