President Paul Kagame has challenged African member states to invest in nuclear power as a sufficient electricity source to bridge Africa’s energy gap.
Rwanda, a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the adoption of nuclear energy will help shape the future of their energy mix.
In talks with Lassina Zerbo, the Chairperson of Rwanda Atomic Energy Board (RAEB), and the organisation’s CEO, Fidel Ndahayo, Kagame emphasized the need to invest in capacity building.
He explained that this will ensure they take advantage of ongoing innovations, including the development of small modular reactor technology.
Nuclear Energy in Rwanda
Rwanda laid the foundation to drive its nuclear ambitions in 2020.
The country seeks to leverage nuclear science and technology to promote economic growth and transformation.
Moreover, many see nuclear as a key enabler to propelling certain industries such as energy, health, security, and others.
This followed the government’s adoption of its long list of frameworks that will enable the country build the foundation for its nuclear aspirations.
In October, 2019, Rwanda signed an agreement with Russia which provides for cooperation in the construction of a center of nuclear science and technology.
In a bid to keep pace with the growing energy demand, Rwanda is looking into diverse sources of power, such as hydro power, methane gas, and peat.
Furthermore, the country is exploring opportunities in wind, solar and geothermal energy.
According to IAEA, for a country to safely introduce nuclear energy, it’s recommended that its grid capacity be around ten times the capacity of its planned nuclear power plant.
For instance, a country should have a capacity of 10,000 megawatts already in place to generate 1,000 megawatts from nuclear power.
According to Alliance for Science, South Africa is the only country on the continent producing nuclear energy commercially.
However, other governments are exploring nuclear energy as a climate-friendly alternative to traditional fossil fuels.
Africa is also going green with countries adopting environmentally friendly sources of energy to tame climate change crisis.
For instance, Burundi is seeking to double the generating capacity of its solar powered plant.