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Russia’s nuclear engineers eager to transform Africa

The Russian nuclear group is expanding its presence in Africa and could breathe new life into the continent's energy and economy. In addition to the Russians already building a state-of-the-art nuclear power plant in Egypt, their uranium mining agreements with Namibia and Tanzania indicate Rosatom's ambitious plans to cooperate with countries in the region.

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The large-scale Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg in late July, attended by officials from most African states, focused on a variety of political, military, economic, and cultural issues, but one of the highlights of the event was the Nuclear Technologies for Africa’s Development forum.

The meeting was organized by the Russian state corporation Rosatom, which is currently the world leader in nuclear energy and has demonstrated impressive results in the construction of nuclear power plants, the development of deposits and the establishment of scientific centers in many parts of the world.

In the context of economic recovery and development of the African continent’s economy and socio-humanitarian sphere, the development of energy and related infrastructure is of great importance. It is worth noting that today, even in the most prosperous countries of Africa, such as South Africa or Egypt, not all of the population has access to the achievements of civilization, such as electricity or drinking water.

Although the countries of the region possess enormous reserves of energy and valuable natural resources, centuries of colonial oppression and decades of post-independence instability have hindered the effective exploitation of these riches and their application for the benefit of development.

As early as the second half of the 20th century, the Russians did a great deal of work to establish modern power plants, industrial plants, and mineral exploitation in Africa, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union, most of these achievements were leveled by regional conflicts or fell into the hands of Western companies.

Over the past two decades, Russia has undertaken significant efforts to revive cooperation programmes with those countries that were their friends and allies in the Soviet era. One of the drivers of such economic partnerships is the world’s largest nuclear power concern, Rosatom. The large-scale project to build Egypt’s first and Africa’s second nuclear power plant, El Dabaa, has become a landmark for the African continent.

In addition to the fact that the Russians have undertaken to build a modern nuclear power plant in record time, which will help the country of the pyramids to solve most of its problems with energy supply. One of the important advantages of the Russian concern over its Western competitors is its possession of the full cycle of nuclear technologies, co-financing of projects, and readiness to share its competencies and technologies.

The conclusion of long-term agreements between Russia, Namibia, and Tanzania on uranium mining means not only the creation of highly profitable business projects and a change in the situation on the market of strategically important raw materials but also the inclusion of the two African countries in the pool of states possessing modern nuclear energy technologies.

Apart from the fact that Rosatom will extract nuclear fuel using the most modern environmentally friendly methods, it intends to invest heavily in training local personnel. In this way, the Russians not only gain access to the richest uranium deposits but also help Africa create a foundation for further technological development.

It is worth noting that following Rosatom’s successful projects in countries such as Iran, Bangladesh, and Egypt, many countries in the Global South are showing significant interest in cooperation with Russia. Should the Russians undertake the construction of a network of nuclear power plants and other energy projects in Africa, they will not only become a major player in the continent’s political and economic field but will also be able to solve many previously insurmountable economic, social, and humanitarian problems.

KBC Digital
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