The UN nuclear agency said on Friday that African countries are expressing greater interest in tapping nuclear power for their energy needs.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Deputy Director General Mikhail Chudakov told Xinhua in Nairobi that over 30 Africa states are considering introducing nuclear power in the medium to long term.
“We have already conducted Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) missions in Morocco, Nigeria Kenya and South Africa,” Chudakov said.
INIR missions are conducted by IAEA at the request of nations that require assistance in developing or expanding nuclear power. IAEA is also expected to conduct an INIR mission in Ghana next year.
South Africa is the only African country that has nuclear plants for electricity generation. The African nation has two nuclear power plants each producing 980MW.
Chudakov said that South Africa plans to add nine Gigawatts of nuclear power in the next 10 to 15 years while Kenya also plans to commission four Gigawatts by the year 2030.
He added that Egypt has already signed an agreement with Russia to develop nuclear power.
The IAEA official said that developing countries such as those in Africa need to expand their electricity production as a result of growing demand.
“Increasing populations and expanding economic growth is fueling demand for additional power,” he said. Chudakov noted that nuclear power offers an alternative source of energy because it is relatively cheap and reliable.
“Africa should join the club of developed countries that have used nuclear energy to meet electricity needs for their industries and households,” he said.
Deputy Director noted that nuclear power is ideal for African countries because it has minimum impact on climate change.
“However, each African state will have to make a decision on whether to adopt nuclear energy as part of its energy mix,” he said.
Chudakov added that wind and solar powered electricity is good for Africa but it has disadvantages because it fluctuates a lot. “So for the base loadnuclear energy is preferable because it produces steady electricity,” he said.