Russia’s Growing Involvement in Africa’s Nuclear Power Projects
May 16, 2019 (EIRNS)—In an article in OilPrice.com today, Vanand Meliksetian, an energy and utilities consultant, points out the growing Russian interest in Africa’s energy development in general, and in establishing nuclear power in Africa in particular.
After showing that energy poverty is a significant problem in Africa in holding back its economic potential, he writes: “Russia’s energy industry, in comparison, is booming. Its state-run nuclear energy company Rosatom has an order book of 34 reactors in 12 countries worth $300 billion. Recently, Moscow has set its eyes on Africa where most states have either already struck a deal with the Kremlin or are considering one.”
The lack of access to a reliable and affordable source of energy is a severe impediment to Africa’s economic development. Also, Africa is urbanizing much faster than the rest of the world. African cities are expanding by 8% every year compared to 2% globally—which puts even more pressure on the existing energy systems.
In view of this development, Russia is keen to offer nuclear power to the African countries by working out deals which would allow them to adopt nuclear power. “The Russian deal is particularly appealing to countries lacking nuclear knowhow, due to Moscow’s comprehensive offers regarding financing, construction, and operation of the facilities. Currently, Rosatom is experimenting with a contract known as build-own-operate, under which ownership of the plant remains in Russian hands while energy is sold to the host country. This new type of contract is appealing to several African states which lack the means to finance construction. In some instances, the mineral resources of host countries could function as a deposit for any liability comparable to Moscow’s arms-for-platinum deal with Zimbabwe worth $3 billion.”