International Involvement in the African Nuclear Market

A picture taken on June 5, 2018 shows the storage area for vitrified nuclear waste at the nuclear waste
reprocessing plant of Beaumont-Hague, northwestern France. Image: Getty, Charly Triballeau/AFP
A picture taken on June 5, 2018 shows the storage area for vitrified nuclear waste at the nuclear waste reprocessing plant of Beaumont-Hague, northwestern France. Image: Getty, Charly Triballeau/AFP

African countries want to become major competitors in the global economy.

Summary:

  • All 55 African states are pursuing socio-developmental goals as part of the AU’s Agenda 2063. As countries develop they will need access to reliable energy sources. A total of 17 AU members are already looking at nuclear energy as an option.
  • There are no nuclear vendors on the continent, and African countries that consider nuclear as part of their energy mix will need to work with international vendors to establish and develop their nuclear programmes.
  • South Africa is the only country on the continent that operates a nuclear power plant. Egypt is set to follow and is in the process of building four nuclear power reactors.
  • African countries need to promote a strong nuclear safety and security culture by establishing national regulatory authorities and implementing the necessary legislation. They also need to work closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the African Commission on Nuclear Energy to ensure the credibility and effectiveness of their regulatory frameworks. 
  • African countries have the option of working with nuclear vendors from China, France, Russia, South Korea and the US, which offer fuel, technical expertise and financing services along with technology. Financing of nuclear projects is likely to be the main consideration.
  • Challenges for nuclear builds in Africa include power grid infrastructure, lack of knowledge and expertise, and corruption.
28 Sep 2021
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Series
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 329, September 2021
Tags
African Union (AU), Agenda 2063, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
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