The potential of nuclear power in Africa
State Atomic Energy Corporation, Rosatom, alongside Hungarian officials, visited the construction site of Paks-2 Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Hungary on 22 September.
The Russian state nuclear firm plans to start mining uranium in Namibia in 2029 with an estimated investment of up to US$500 million
The recent event marked a significant milestone in the construction of the only nuclear power plant in the European Union based on Russian Gen 3+ VVER-1200 technology.
The construction progress is notable, with the completion of a concrete plant, ongoing work on a reinforcement products workshop, and soil excavation for the foundation pit of Unit 6. The site is gearing up for the momentous event of pouring the first concrete, scheduled for the beginning of 2025.
Rosatom director general Alexey Likhachev expressed optimism, stating, “We expect the first concrete to be poured at the end of next year – at the beginning of 2025.”
Furthermore, Rosatom has obtained licenses from the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (HAEA) to manufacture long lead equipment for the project. Over 140 Hungarian companies are actively participating in various aspects of the project, highlighting the collaborative effort involved.
Notably, Paks II NPP represents Russia’s first project within the European Union. Likhachev emphasized the importance of this venture in meeting Europe’s energy supply challenges, underscoring the role of nuclear energy in ensuring reliable power sources.
Switching gears to Africa, the International Energy Agency reports that 43% of Africans, approximately 600 million people, lack access to electricity. This shortage hinders economic development, education, and healthcare services across the continent.
To address these challenges, nuclear power emerges as a viable solution. Nuclear energy provides consistent and continuous electricity generation, making it a reliable base-load power source. Additionally, nuclear power can offer decentralized access to electricity, with small modular reactors serving as autonomous power stations, reaching even the most remote areas of Africa.
Moreover, investing in nuclear power plants creates job opportunities and fosters technological skill development, contributing to economic growth within local communities. As Africa continues to advance, embracing nuclear power holds the potential to drive progress and prosperity across the continent.