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Friday, 05 June 2015 09:36

Rosatom participated in African Utility Week 2015

MOSCOW, June 05, 2015 (RosAtom) -- ROSATOM welcomes the efforts of African countries to improve its power system for the sake of the further economic development of the continent, expressed Alexander Kirillov, Director of Rosatom Africa, at a dedicated nuclear panel session held during the African Utility Week 2015 conference.



The panel discussion was attended by the top managers of South African and Kenyan nuclear companies, and was moderated made by Greg Kaser, Senior Project Manager of the World Nuclear Association (UK).

“Africa really is the final frontier, it is the last booming economy, and it is currently the fastest growing economy in the world, with a regional growth of 5.7% per annum,” stated Kirillov. “But as with any growing economy, Africa is not without its problems and is currently facing a number of grave challenges, arguably the largest of these challenges being reliable source of electricity.”

According to the latest World Bank statistics, 25 of the 54 nations in Africa are currently in the midst of an energy crises. Only a quarter of the Sub-Saharan Africa’s population have access to electricity. “Energy development is lagging behind the rising demand for electricity and the fact that in modern world 600 million people are living with limited or no access to a reliable supply of electricity is simply not acceptable,” explains Alexander Kirillov.

Recent estimates made public by Efficient Group, claim that shortfalls in power supplies have cost South Africa 24.7 bn dollars over the past seven years. “This happens to be roughly the amount that four NPP units would have cost to build,” says Kirillov. According to the financial services group, power shortages have wiped 10% off the potential growth of the economy in the period 2007-14, while also costing more than 1 million job opportunities. 

Kirillov notes that in order for Africa to continue and even increase its current growth potential, it needs a reliable and affordable source of base load power to stimulate industrial activities and bolster economic growth. “Nuclear power is an efficient, safe, environmentally friendly and affordable means for generating base load.” He continues, “Nuclear is certainly not the only option for Africa but for many African nations that lack access to large scale Hydro or natural gas it most certainly has an essential role to play in their respective energy mixes.”

He also emphasized the strategic importance of a Nigeria’s decision to implement 4,8 GWt of nuclear power by 2030 and welcomed Kenya’s ambition to develop nuclear power generation. He reminded about other substantial benefits a nuclear energy industry development can bring to the development of other industries.

 

One example is booming radiation technology market, primarily in the field of nuclear medicine. The market is expected to grow up to US$ 24 bln by 2020 and South Africa is already being second largest exporter of isotopes in the world.

 

Another example is agriculture which includes food irradiation and breeding new seed varieties with higher yields, such as the "miracle" rice that has greatly expanded rice production in Asia. Another new advance in nuclear are desalination facilities – one can produce up to 170,000 m3 of fresh water per day with one power unit. 

In addition to the main issue of the need to develop nuclear energy in Africa, the panel also discussed such topics as the role of the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) in the promotion of low-carbon and nuclear energy, nuclear industry experience and competence transfer, prospects of uranium mining, issues of environmental and radiation safety, possibilities of low-power reactors installation and also information work with the local population. 
(Press Service of Rusatom International Network)


 
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