By Kester Kenn Klomegah, Moscow Bureau Chief
Moscow, May 4, GNA – Russian officials from the Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation have urged African leaders to consider developing nuclear power to help solve the persistent energy crisis, saying, nuclear energy was a sustainable alternative for both domestic and industrial use throughout Africa.
“Africa, being a continent suffering from electricity deficit, won't be able to bring all its potential into life without meeting energy needs for its growing economy,” Viktor Polikarpov, Rosatom's Regional Vice-President for Sub-Saharan Africa, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview after leading a Russian delegation to meet with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
Uganda has expressed interest in Russian nuclear technologies and Rosatom's proposals regarding Nuclear Power construction. At the meeting both parties confirmed a willingness to start cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear power and to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development of Uganda.
Polikarpov, whose key responsibilities include overseeing, implementing and managing all Russian nuclear projects in the Sub-Sahara African Region, said there was a great scope of business to be developed in Africa.
“It is vital for African countries to create viable energy mix, which will guarantee their own energy security and drive the industrial development. That is the reason why more and more African countries are currently studying the opportunities for nuclear power development,” he said.
Rosatom is intensively developing cooperation with African countries. The company already has its own history of cooperation with Africa in nuclear sphere. South Africa was one of the first countries to publicly declare its stance on peaceful nuclear energy use for power generation in Africa.
Quite recently, in 2012, an inter-governmental agreement was signed with Nigeria on cooperation in the power construction and are currently in the process of elaborating the comprehensive structure of the project. Rosatom has also been working in Namibia and Tanzania in terms of uranium exploration and mining.
Rosatom actively interacts with and has shown interest in developing nuclear power in countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Kenya.
It is estimated that only a quarter of Sub-Saharan Africa's population have access to electricity. This means that about 600 million people are living with limited or no access to a reliable supply of electricity.
In order for Africa to continue and even increase its current growth potential, it needs a more reliable and affordable source of base-load power to stimulate industrial activities and bolster economic growth, and nuclear power could be a better option. Rosatom believes nuclear power is an environmentally-friendly, safe, reliable and cheap method of producing base-load power.
Today, nuclear power is the only source of energy that meets all the challenges of a rapidly developing world.
It is unique because of the significantly low cost of electricity generated by it. That is why nuclear power plants may well feed the energy-hungry regions as well as provide for significant electricity exporting potential.
According to Polikarpov, another proven advantage of nuclear power is its environmental friendliness. They do not emit any harmful substances in the atmosphere during their operation and they are totally free of the greenhouse gas emission. Another key advantage of nuclear power is the unique and large-scale impact it has on social and economic development of the whole country.
Rosatom is the Russian Federation’s national nuclear corporation, bringing together some 400 nuclear companies and research and development institutions that operate in the civilian and defence sectors. With 70 years of expertise in the nuclear field, Rosatom claims to be a global leader in technologies and competencies offering cutting-edge industry solutions.