Tshwane -Nuclear energy stakeholders met in South Africa’s administrative capital, Pretoria, this week and signed an MoU to support use of nuclear science and technologies for peaceful purposes in Africa.
The signatories were the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), and the African Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA).
AFCONE executive secretary Messaoud Baaliouamer and AFRA chairperson Zizamele Mbambo signed the MoU.
According to the two organisations, the MoU promotes co-operation advancing, promoting and improving the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of peaceful nuclear applications in Africa.
In an interview after the signing ceremony, AFCONE’s Baaliouamer said, “This agreement builds on the amazing work we have done with AFRA in mapping the implementation of commitments to peaceful uses of nuclear energy on the continent and fostering the African Union Agenda 2063 which specifies ‘Africa: One Continent, One Voice’.”
In his remarks during the ceremony, Africa director at the International Atomic Energy Agency Shaukat Abdulrazak 64 percent of the continent’s population did not have access to electricity and positive application of nuclear technologiescould improve these statistics.
Some of the organisations that witnessed the signing ceremony include Women in Nuclear Africa (WiN-Africa), The Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa (FNRBA), and Women in Nuclear South Africa (WiNSA).
In 2015, representatives from Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia and Uganda began preliminary plans to set up the African Network for Enhancing Nuclear Power Programme Development, aimed at strengthening and building capacity across the African continent for the planning, development, and management of nuclear power infrastructure and programmes.
The first African Nuclear Youth Summit was held in Kenya in March 2017, with attendees from Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, and Sudan, along with all North African countries.
Over time, the international nuclear safety framework has also evolved into one that is more globalised and fosters more international collaboration.
Although most SADC counties are considering resorting to nuclear energy to conquer perennial power deficit, South Africa and Zambia are the only countries at an advanced stage regarding commercial production.
Africa has an active nuclear science and technology sector, including several research reactors, and significant government interest in starting commercial nuclear programmes.