Africa Turns To Nuclear Technology For Improved Power Generation

Yemisi Izuora/Ijeoma Agudosi-With Agency Report
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Nigeria is among key African nations seeking to boost power generation via nuclear technology.

In East Africa, Kenya and Uganda are making progress in nuclear technology with both currently involved with the pre-feasibility study of their nuclear energy programmes, while Democratic Republic of Congo’s nuclear plan is in limbo after it shut down its reactor in 2004.

Egypt, Niger, Ghana, Tanzania, Morocco, Algeria and Nigeria have also begun the rollout of projects in this sector.

In June, 1954, Russia became the first country to commission a nuclear power plant that generated electricity for commercial use with a net electrical output of 5MW connected to the power grid.

Since then, nuclear energy has grown to become one of the most dependable power generating sources in the world.

Currently, France is the world’s leading nuclear generating nation, enabling it to licence its technology to developing countries looking for new energy sources.

Despite the technology being in existence for more than five decades, Africa has been slow to embrace it, instead preferring hydropower, thermal and lately in some countries geothermal as electricity generating sources.

Sub-Saharan economies are now looking at setting up nuclear plants to supplement their traditional power sources

The continent, with large deposits of uranium, is turning to nuclear power because of its low carbon footprint, emissions and running costs.

South Africa, the only country in Africa that has an operational nuclear power generator, is ramping up its nuclear projects by constructing a new and bigger reactor, pushing nuclear technology to a new level on the continent.

In East Africa, Kenya and Uganda are making progress in nuclear technology with both currently involved with the pre-feasibility study of their nuclear energy programmes, while Democratic Republic of Congo’s nuclear plan is in limbo, after it shut down its reactor in 2004 due to overheating, lack of spares and unwillingness by the US to send parts.

Nigeria, Egypt, Niger, Ghana, Tanzania, Morocco and Algeria  have also begun the rollout of projects in this sector.

In May, South Africa announced that it will procure a nuclear fleet to generate 9,600MW of power at a cost of $100 billion.

The country’s installed nuclear generating capacity of 1,830 MW from its two reactors at Koeberg. These plants were commissioned in 1984 and will be closed in 2025.

Also recently,  South African Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Petterson said that the country’s Treasury and Department of Energy are working on a funding model and time frame for the new phase of the project, expected to commence next year.

“We are still on course with our plans to construct an additional eight new nuclear plants by 2023 to produce 9,600MW,” Ms Joemat-Petterson said.

Kenya is also planning to construct nuclear power plants that it hopes will generate a minimum of 4,000MW from 2023.

“We have no option but to embrace nuclear early enough to avoid starting the process long after we have exhausted geothermal sources,” Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge said.

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