With support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Africa is poised to become one of the world’s hubs for nuclear development in the years to come as the continent works to construct a secure, low-carbon energy system. Africa is home to one-third of the nearly 30 nations that are presently debating nuclear power. Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, and the IAEA have already started a dialogue to determine each country’s readiness to start a nuclear program. In addition to Zambia and Uganda, Algeria and Tunisia are researching the potential of nuclear electricity. “Africa is hungry for energy, and nuclear power might be part of the answer for an increasing number of countries,” says Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy at the International Atomic Energy Agency.
During the 66th IAEA General Conference in September, government ministers and representatives from several African nations discussed the potential of nuclear power to support sustainable development and the shift to clean and dependable energy. This discussion followed the release of a new publication on the topic by the IAEA. The symposium, “Supporting the Energy Transition in Africa,” featured the 2022 update of “Climate Change and Nuclear Power,” which offers technical details and data on how nuclear power may help achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.
Africa is one of the continents that needs a lot of energy.
According to the new publication, 600 million individuals and 10 million small companies in Africa lack access to a consistent source of power, and even connecting to a national grid is no longer a guarantee of consistent electrical supply. The frequency of blackouts is rising, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa’s energy demand is rising, however, twice as quickly as the global average, primarily due to an increase in the number of cities. The IAEA helps about 30 nuclear-newcomer nations in Africa and around the world in their efforts to build the required foundation for a safe, secure, and long-lasting nuclear power program through its Milestones Approach.
As a result, some African nations are looking into the possibilities of incorporating nuclear energy into their energy mix. With two reactors at its Koeberg NPP totaling over 2000MWe, South Africa is now the only nuclear operator in Africa. However, it is thinking about extending the life of the plants and expanding its nuclear power program. At El-Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast, Egypt has already started a nuclear program and is building four 1200MWe reactors. Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, and Niger are additional nations that have benefited from IAEA assistance in order to establish nuclear power programs.
Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria have been members of the IAEA.
Since 1960, Ghana has been a member of the IAEA. Ghana is looking to use nuclear energy, according to Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation of Ghana, to supply the necessary variety of baseload needed to meet the country’s future energy needs. “Since our hydropower capacity is practically used up, we are interested in nuclear energy to ensure that we have enough energy for our development and transition. The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), which was founded in 1963, has been running a small research reactor that was supplied by China since 1994. In order to train nuclear scientists, GAEC and the University of Ghana founded the School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences (SNAS) in 2006.
Following the IAEA’s Milestones Approach, Kenya and Nigeria collaborate with the organization as part of Integrated Work Plans (IWPs). Nigeria has a strong nuclear infrastructure and has been a member of the IAEA since 1964. The national Nuclear Energy Programme Implementation Committee is under the control of the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), which was established in 1976. (NEPIC). China provided the first research reactor for Nigeria, which was put into service in 2004. A Strategic Plan for Implementing a National Nuclear Power Program followed the government’s 2007 approval of NAEC’s national nuclear power road map in 2009.
IAEA organizes training and educational events for African countries.
The Agency also plans training and educational activities for African nations interested in developing nuclear energy. South Africa served as the host nation for the Third Nuclear Energy Management (NEM) School in Africa in June 2022. The two prior schools took place in 2016 and 2018. To learn more about every area of nuclear power production, from energy planning and nuclear law to safety, security, and radioactive waste management, 41 participants from 14 African countries recently gathered in Pretoria.
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