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Expert says sub-Saharan Africans should embrace nuclear energy

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Regional expert has called on African countries to consider nuclear energy as a key contributor to the mix of its energy sources to help ease electricity shortage.

Viktor Polikarpov, Regional Vice President of sub-Saharan Africa at Rosatom, Russia-based global actor on the world’s nuclear technology market, said nuclear energy’s long-term benefits far outweigh those of renewable energy.

"In order to combat the current energy challenge faced by East Africa and the rest of the continent, Africa needs affordable and clean baseload power.

"Countries that go nuclear are assured of security of supply, reduced greenhouse emissions and are able to develop a highly skilled workforce," Polikarpov said at the East Africa Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) in Nairobi.

He pointed out that Africa is more than ready to develop new technologies, adding that a comprehensive mix of energy will provide Africa with the energy it needs to reach its highest economic potential.

So far, nine African countries have the potential to produce nuclear energy.

He said nuclear is undoubtedly becoming a global trend because it’s reliable, environmentally friendly and an affordable source of base load power.

"If you look at the long-term cost of nuclear production in comparison to the other energy sources, you will establish that nuclear energy is not only sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly but is also significantly cheaper in the long run," Polikarpov added.

In May, Rosatom and the Kenyan Council for Nuclear Energy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and cooperation in the field of nuclear energy.

Among the immediate tasks, the two sides agreed to conduct consultations on the issues of possible development and signing of an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The MoU also seeks to create a basis for cooperation between Kenya and Russia in the domain of nuclear energy in a wide area of issues, including:

assistance in development of Kenyan nuclear energy infrastructure;

fundamental and applied research;

design, construction and operation of nuclear energy and research reactors;

production and

use of radio isotopes in the industry, medicine, and agriculture.




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