Synchronising Nuclear Governance in SADC Member States Through Regional Cooperation

Image: Getty, Pallava Bagla/Corbis
Image: Getty, Pallava Bagla/Corbis

SADC member states have adopted different approaches to nuclear energy and radioactive applications.


  • This paper gives an overview of nuclear regulation at the national level in 16 SADC member states, and discusses existing regional instruments and how they could be strengthened.
  • Half of SADC member states have uranium deposits and intend to use these to generate export revenues.
  • Namibia is already among the world’s largest uranium producers, with 10.2% of global supply coming from its open pit mines in 2019.
  • Exploration and mine development is rapidly proceeding in SADC states that have not previously produced uranium, i.e., Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 
  • Mining and refining uranium can create environmental and health problems.
  • SADC could provide an appropriate platform for sharing experiences on nuclear safety and coordinating the rollout of best practices.
  • It is necessary to ensure the safe and secure handling of nuclear materials, plants, reactors and waste disposal in all existing and new nuclear programmes in SADC.
  • SADC can help its member states in harmonising legal and institutional frameworks for radiation safety, while keeping the format open for others to join at a later stage.
29 Oct 2021

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Research by
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 332, October 2021
Sub-Saharan Africa
SAIIA Programme
African Governance and Diplomacy
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
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