Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Africa goes nuclear?

 African access to electricity is the lowest in the world. Fossil fuels and hydropower dominate Africa’s energy generation mix. Renewable sources like solar and wind contribute just 1.6% of the energy in Africa.

Energy demand in Africa is projected to grow by 80% by 2040. That is, at 3.5% per year, faster than the global average of 1.3%.

 As such, several African countries have expressed interest in nuclear power.

 South Africa is the only African nation with a 1.86GW operational nuclear power plant.  Egypt commenced the construction of the four 1200 MWe reactors as part of its ambition to provide steady electricity to its people over the next decades.  Uganda announced that it was pushing ahead with its plan to put up a 2000 MW nuclear reactor plant to be commissioned by 2031. A team had just cleared the East African country of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to proceed to the next stage of using nuclear for peaceful application.

Uganda’s Energy and Mineral ministry’s permanent secretary, Irene Batebe, sais that nuclear power would be part of the country’s effort to meet its Net Zero ambitions.

“As we are going into the energy transition, nuclear power is a very clean option for as long as you manage the waste very well.”

Some say Africa cannot afford the cost of putting up nuclear reactors. Uganda, for example, needs $9bn for the 2000MW plant. 

Ugandan Electrochemical Energy Conversion expert, Dr Justus Masa, argues that rather than spend $9bn on nuclear, Uganda should invest in solar and geothermal.

Germany has installed solar capacity of 50,000 Mw. It has only about six months of sunshine a year. During the summer, they can go 100 percent renewable. Looking at the price of solar energy. I see that solar has enormous potential for us in Africa. I could see that solar is cheaper than nuclear,” 

Energy: Why Africa Must Be Part of Nuclear Energy Appetite | Inter Press Service (

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