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African countries increasingly considering nuclear energy to meet electricity needs

Author: Chiponda Chimbelu, Deutsche Welle, Published on: 25 October 2019

"African countries mull nuclear energy as Russia extends offers", 22 October 2019.

Southern Africa's ongoing drought has had a devastating impact on the region's power supply. Water levels at Kariba Dam, which straddles Zimbabwe and Zambia...are at the lowest in years...Nearly 600 million Africans do not have access to electricity...In 2016, the Zambian government signed an agreement with Moscow to support it as it explores nuclear technology...

Nuclear technology and know-how will be high on the agenda at the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi. There's a whole panel discussion on how it could contribute to development in Africa...Two years ago, Rosatom's CEO reportedly said the state-backed entity needed to start earning more money through commercial projects abroad..."The Russian Federation is under European Union and US sanctions still, so it is trying to diversify its economic partnerships," says Chatham House's Alex Vines. And African countries offer that opportunity, partly due to the lack of infrastructure. "It would be an entry point for a very long partnership with an African government because of the scale of the infrastructure that would be necessary for a nuclear facility," Vines explains...

Many experts believe that nuclear technology doesn't make sense for African countries because of the amount of investments required. Alex Vines points to the lack of regulatory bodies and challenges regarding maintenance and inspection of infrastructure — issues also raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency's assessments of some countries in Africa...Perhaps these concerns played a role in the cash-strapped South African government's recent decision to scrap plans for Russia to help it build another nuclear power plant. Vines says the project's link to the corrupt government of former President Zuma may also have contributed...

Russia is already backing providing more than 80% of the funds needed to build the continent's second nuclear power plant...for which construction will begin next year in Egypt...

Read the full post here

Related companies: Rosatom