Nuclear energy provider Rosatom this week called for the integration of nuclear power into African economies as a key driver of socioeconomic development.
The company believed that Africa was “more than ready” to develop nuclear technologies.
Speaking at the Power and Electricity Conference, in Nairobi, Kenya, this week, Rosatom International network regional sub-Saharan Africa VP Viktor Polikarpov said nuclear power enabled technology that would provide the continent with the energy it needs to fulfill its “massive” economic potential.
With the latest estimates from the World Bank suggesting that more than 600-million people were without access to electricity on the continent, the provision of a long-term, “game-changing” energy supply was essential.
This was exacerbated by the fact that sub-Saharan Africa was expected to grow at 4.6% this year alone and in excess of 5% in 2016, which would further drive urbanisation and increase long-term energy demand.
Drawing comparisons on power generation across the globe, Polikarpov noted that, outside of South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa only generated 28 GW of power, which was equivalent to Argentina’s energy production. In total, there was just enough electricity generated on the continent to power one light bulb per person for three hours a day.
This had a negative economic impact, as African manufacturing enterprises experienced power outages on average 56 days a year, translating into about 6% sales revenue loss and, in areas such as the informal sector, where back-up generators were limited, as much as 20%.
Nuclear was undoubtedly becoming a global trend. It is estimated that within the next 20 years, nearly 70% of the world’s population would be living in countries with nuclear power, with the amount of power being generated increasing from 400 GW to over 700 GW.
“Nuclear power is reliable, environment-friendly and an affordable source of baseload power. The fact is, Africa is more than ready to develop it. We believe that providing nuclear power to the continent will create a platform for continued investment into much-needed infrastructure.
“Nuclear power plant hubs, strategically located throughout the continent, could create a platform for the facilitation of regional power integration,” Polikarpov stated.