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Growing African interest in nuclear power signalled by conference this month in Uganda


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Growing African interest in nuclear power signalled by conference this month in Uganda

2nd March 2023

By: Rebecca Campbell
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Calculations by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were that, in Africa, some 600-million people and 10-million small businesses lacked a dependable electricity supply. Nor did connection to a national grid guarantee a reliable supply of energy. The World Bank has reported that nearly 80% of the continent’s businesses suffer from power cuts. The continent has a huge need for reliable energy sources. Consequently, Nuclear Business Platform (NBP) MD Zaf Coelho points out, an increasing number of African countries are looking at nuclear power as a source of reliable baseload energy.

Hence the second, 2023, iteration of the Africa NBP (AFNBP) conference, which will take place in Kampala, Uganda, from March 14 to March 17. It will be hosted by the Ugandan Ministry of Energy & Mineral Development, and its theme is the “Sustainable Economic Transformation of Africa Through Nuclear Power”.


(AFNBP is one of six regional initiatives of the NBP, the others being the Arab NBP, the Asia NBP, the India NBP, the Latin America NBP and the Türkiye NBP. NBP overall is a business unit of Singapore-based growth consulting group Industry Platform.)

“[N]uclear power would bring economic transformation to the African countries through the provision of electricity in a safe and environmentally friendly manner,” he highlights. “Nuclear power would also enable the African continent to achieve targets under the [United Nations] Sustainable Development Goals seven and thirteen. Goal seven aims at ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all, and goal thirteen focuses on combat of climate change and its impacts.”


From its own researches, NBP has concluded that, currently, 19 African countries are seriously considering, or have committed to, nuclear power. But their levels of readiness vary considerably. The NBP has divided them into three ‘tiers’, with 1 being the highest and 3 being the lowest.

Tier 1 is composed of those countries which are “firmly committed” to starting or expanding nuclear power programmes, with set timelines. These are Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia, as well as Egypt – which has a nuclear power plant (NPP) under construction – and South Africa (which of course has an operational NPP).

Tier 2 contains those nations whose governments support the initiation of nuclear power programmes and are actively developing their nuclear infrastructures. These countries are Kenya, Niger, Rwanda, Sudan and Tunisia.

Tier 3 countries are those which have long-term plans to adopt nuclear energy and are also actively developing their nuclear infrastructures. They are Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Morocco, Namibia, Senegal, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

The conference is scheduled to be addressed by speakers from both Africa and elsewhere. The African speakers will be from Ethiopia, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and of course Uganda, as well as the African Commission on Nuclear Energy. The non-African speakers will come from Argentina, Canada, France, Japan, (South) Korea, the UK, the US and from the IAEA.


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