South Africa Led the World in Small Nuclear Reactors: Africa Needs Nuclear Energy Today!

May 30, 2024

Watch this video from africanagenda.net.

Read my earlier posts:

South African Activist Campaigns for Nuclear Energy For Africa: Essential for Industrialization

South Africa: A Leader on the Continent for Nuclear Energy

“Electricity is the lifeblood of a nation” Nuclear Energy Can Be A Solution To The Continent’s Dearth of Electricity

Nuclear Power A Necessity for Africa’s Economic Growth

African Nations Desperately Need Energy for Economic Growth

Africa`s Future Depends on Adopting Nuclear Power Generation

In the Next Decade, Nuclear Power for Africa Is A Necessity, Not An Option

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for 35 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com, and also publishing on: lawrencefreeman.substack.com, “Freeman’s Africa and the World.”

Nuclear Power A Necessity for Africa’s Economic Growth

Nigeria and Ghana making nuclear power part of their future

A nuclear power plant

A nuclear power plant

March 12, 2021

It is essential that African nations advance their plans to build nuclear plants as part of their energy grid. That is why the efforts of Nigeria and Ghana should be hailed as progress for the continent. Africa`s Future Depends on Adopting Nuclear Power Generation

The lack of energy is killing more Africans that any other cause of death. My estimate is that the nations of Africa should acquire at least 1,000 gigawatts-1,000,000 megawatts-of electrical power to raise the standard of living of the populations to that of a modern industrialized society. Nuclear energy must be an increasing share of the continent’s energy generation.

Construction and operation of nuclear energy will also elevate the skill level of the domestic workforce. Nuclear energy complexes will serve as  training centers for skilled workers, engineers and scientists to operate a higher level of technology.

Energy is an indispensable element of the infrastructure platform that every nation requires to expand its economy. Energy poverty sustains poverty because electricity

Energy is vital for:

  1. industrialization
  2. manufacturing
  3. agricultural & agricultural processing
  4. transportation,
  5. schools
  6. hospitals
  7. vaccine production and distribution
  8. homes  
  9. elimination poverty & hunger

Let us encourage more African nations to expand their energy grid with nuclear power

Nigeria invites bids as it prepares to construct its first nuclear power plant, amid security concerns

Busineess Insider Africa

EMMANUEL ABARA BENSON March 2, 2022 10:41 AM

  • The nuclear power plant is projected to become Nigeria’s largest power plant and could potentially solve the country’s electricity challenges.
  • However, there are have been concerns about the country’s ability to manage a nuclear power plant, considering its peculiar security challenges.
  • Note that the bidding process is very critical to any nuclear power project, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Nigerian Government said it has commenced the bidding process in preparation for the construction of a 4000 megawatts nuclear power plant in the country.

The Director General of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Agency, Dr Yau Idris, disclosed this while speaking during the Nigerian International Energy Summit in Abuja, yesterday. According to him, the nuclear power plant is projected to become Nigeria’s largest power plant, and could significantly improve the West African country’s power generation capacity.

Meanwhile, there have been concerns about Nigeria’s ability to manage a nuclear power plant, considering the delicate nature of such a project as well as the country’s peculiar security situation. Dr Idris addressed these concerns during his speech, stressing that it is wrong for anyone to assume that Nigeria’s is incapable of managing a nuclear project.

“There are mechanisms put in place that ensure any country can build a nuclear power plant. Nigeria is trying to deliver 4,000MW of electricity through nuclear power. We are trying to construct four units and we are at the bidding stage,” he was quoted by local media to have said.

It should be noted that the bidding process is very critical to any nuclear power project. A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IEAE) titled “Invitation and Evaluation of Bids for Nuclear Power Plants”, detailed the requirements and processes for ensuring a successful bid.

“The development of a nuclear programme is a major undertaking requiring attention to many complex and interrelated tasks over a long duration. One of them is the bidding process, which includes the development of bid invitations specifications, the evaluation of bids and the contracting with the successful bidder (contractor). The necessary infrastructure should be developed to the point of readiness for a bidding process to acquire a nuclear power plant (NPP). Therefore, the preparatory phase preceding the bidding process includes numerous activities, such as but not limited to, energy system planning, siting and feasibility studies, environmental impact assessment, development of nuclear related legislation, financing, organization of the regulatory authority, etc,” part of the report said.

Nigeria is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and as such is required to strictly adhere to the requirements for bids. And ultimately, the goal is to ensure that the successful bidder (i.e., the winning contractor) has all it takes to enable the licensing, construction, commissioning and operation of a nuclear power plant.

https://africa.businessinsider.com/local/markets/nigeria-invites-bids-as-it-prepares-to-construct-its-first-nuclear-power-plant/tdn7nn2

Ghana looks to small modular reactor technology for nuclear deployment

ESI Africa

ByTheresa SmithMar 9, 2022

network resilience
[SERZ72] © 123RF.COM

The US and Ghana will partner under the Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) to support the West African country’s foray into the nuclear sector.

The FIRST programme, led by the US Department of State, will support Ghana’s adoption of small modular reactor (SMR) technology. This includes support for stakeholder engagement, advanced technical collaboration and project evaluation and planning. Japan has been a valuable partner with the US on the FIRST programme and will build on its existing partnership with Ghana to advance Ghana’s civil nuclear power aspirations.

Have you read?
US and Ghana sign memorandum with a focus on nuclear

Speaking at a virtual launch of the programme, US Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan said clean, reliable and safe nuclear energy could provide significant benefits to the people of Ghana, including clean energy, agricultural improvements, clean water and advanced medical treatment. “Next-generation nuclear energy, like what we’re working on today, must be part of the solution,” said Sullivan.

According to Ghana’s Minister of Energy Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the decision to include nuclear power in the nation’s energy mix has led to establishing Nuclear Power Ghana Limited as an Owner Operator and project developer. The FIRST Programme will help Ghana develop the competencies of the Nuclear Power Ghana Limited to build and operate safely Ghana’s first nuclear power plant.

From the archives
The drive for an African nuclear energy market

Drawing on 60 years of US experience working with nuclear energy, the FIRST programme provides capacity-building support to partner countries as they develop their nuclear energy programmes. To date, the US Department of State has announced $7.3 million to support FIRST projects around the world.

Professor Samuel Boakye Dampare, Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission the capacity building activities are meant to strengthen their national technical support organisation. “For us regulators, our success will be a very stringent, logical and transparent licensing regime that emphases safety throughout the lifetime of our future power plants(s), whether SMRs or larger reactors,” said Dampare.

Initial training in Ghana during 2022 will focus on stakeholder engagement, licensing and regulatory development, financing, workforce development and nuclear security, safety and non-proliferation.

https://lnkd.in/gKAH-teY

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

Africa Needs A Nuclear Power Visionary Like President Kennedy

South Africa has the only nuclear power plant on the the African continent. There should be 1,000 more.

May 31, 2021

President  John F Kennedy was the last great U.S. President.  He had a vision for developing the U.S.  As a student of President Franklin Roosevelt, President Kennedy understood how to create a more prosperous economic future by using the most advanced form of energy; nuclear. (see below).  It is no coincident that the U.S. experienced its greatest technologically driven increase in productivity as a result of of his “Man on the Moon” space exploration initiative.  President Kennedy was also the last U.S. president who enthusiastically supported the development of Africa. His partnership with Ghanaian President, Kwame Nkrumah, to build the Volta Dam energy and industrial complex, stands out as the high point in U.S.-Africa relations.  It is the lack of a U.S. development perspective for Africa over the last six decades that has led to the failures of U.S. to respond to Africa’s vital needs for energy infrastructure.

Consider this optimistic outlook for the people living in Africa. To industrialize African nations, eliminate poverty and hunger, the continent needs a minimum of an additional 1,000 gigawatts of electricity.  Why not build. one thousand nuclear power plants, each generating 1,000 megawatts of electricity. 

President Kennedy: “All this means that we put science to work, science to work in improving our environment and making this country a better place in which to live. I want us to stay ahead. Do you know that in the next 10 years, I hope the people of the United States realize it – we double the need for electric power every 10 years? We need the equivalent of a new Grand Coulee Dam every 60 days. In the next 20 years we are going to have to put in the electric industry $125 billion of investment, and when we do that, this country will be richer, and our children will enjoy a higher standard of living.” (emphasis. added)

President Kennedy: Nuclear Power Visionary

Read my earlier post: Nuclearize Africa: It Is Necessary To End Poverty and Hunger

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Nuclearize Africa: It Is Necessary To End Poverty and Hunger

In the article below; Energy for Africa: The Power to Industrialize and Reach Zero Poverty, author PD Lawton, creator of the website, africanagenda.net, discusses the progress by African nations in acquiring nuclear energy. As the article makes clear, “nuclear technology will enable countries to realize more than 9 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.” Nuclear energy will supply the power for the industrialization of African nations.

Let us be blunt: African nations will not achieve true stability, peace, and democracy until poverty and hunger are eliminated! From decades of examining  the physical economies of Africa, I can say with complete authority, as long as large sections of the population of African nations are desperately attempting to simply survive and find ways to feed their families everyday, there will not peace, security, and democracy. Abundant and and inexpensive energy, with 100% access by the population and industry is the bedrock of any successful economy. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) needs minimally, 1,000 gigawatts of additional energy. A gigawatt is 1,000 megawatts. SSA presently has a mere 100,000-130,000 megawatts-100 to130 gigawatts. All forms of energy generation must be employed to power African economies. However, even clean hydro-electric is limited by the flow of water, as we have witnessed recently in energy shortages in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

Nuclear energy is the most efficient form of power society currently operates. The technology is well known and safe. Delaying the construction of nuclear powers across the African continent will only contribute to more misery and death for Africans. Thus, nuclear energy should become an increasingly larger portion of new energy for African nations, beginning today! 

Read:

ENERGY for Africa : The Power to Industrialize and Reach Zero Poverty

Read: Nuclear Energy Can Bridge the Skills Gap in Africa

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

 

Ghana Astutely Recognizes Importance of Rail Infrastructure

Ghana’s proposed rail lines of over 4,000 kilometers.

May 14, 2021

The commitment by the government of Ghana to upgrade its railroad system, including a rail line to Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso indicates an understanding of the importance of infrastructure. Railroads build nations by moving freight, connecting the nation internally and externally, and serve as a spine for manufacturing centers.  All progressing economies exist on the foundation of an integrated infrastructure platform.

This new railroad from Port Tema to Burkina Faso, discussed in the article below-Go To Ouagadougou!-(AfricanAgenda.net) is an ambitious 1,000 kilometer rail connection, which will become Ghana’s first ever rail line beyond Kumase.

Prior to 2017, less than 10% of the old British network of 947 kilometers was operational! The Master Plan of the Ghana Railway Development Authority, completed in 2013, envisages a 4,007 kilometer rail network at a cost of almost $21,508,000. Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, now serving his second term, has been a major drive of this project.

This is exactly the bold visionary policy African nations need to develop their economies. Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, who together produce the majority of the world’s cocoa beans, can also become the economic drivers of West Africa and the Sahel, through infrastructure investments in rail and energy. New rail lines running north from Cote d’Ivoire’s port of Abidjan, the largest port in West Africa, to Burkina Faso, Bamako, Mali, and Guinea, would complement Ghana’s expansive rail program.

This is how the future of Africa will be built. This is the pathway to industrialization, which can finally eliminate hunger and poverty in Africa!

Go To Ouagadougou !

By investing in frast5ucure, especially in railroads and energy, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana can be the drivers of development for West Africa and the Sahel.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

 

The Africa Integrated High-Speed Rail Network is Feasible and Will Create A Prosperous Future for All African Nations

Please watch the 30 minute video below, which is a provocative interview with Roland Ataguba, Managing Director of Bethlehem Rail Infrastructure Limited. He discusses in detail the feasibility of An Integrated Railway  Network

Please watch the 8 minute video below on the The African Integrated High-Speed Railway Network (AIHSRN), “An Agenda 2063 Flagship Project” proposed by the African Union.

 

 

This article: http://africanagenda.net/african-new-paradigm/, by PD Lawton, creator of the website: AfricanAgenda.net, reviews major rail and related infrastructure projects that African nations are planning and presently constructing.

 Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Africa Needs Nuclear Power to Propel Economic Development and Eliminate Poverty-Will Ghana Take the Lead?

Africa’s only nuclear powerplant in Koeberg South Africa. (Courtesy cbn.co.za)

December 18, 2020

Ghana has correctly focused on obtaining energy from nuclear power to realize their ambition of becoming an industrialized economy. It is worth remembering that under President Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana had, I believe, the first test nuclear reactor on the continent. Seventeen African nations are in various stages of planning for nuclear energy stations in their countries. The energy-flux density of nuclear power is superior to all other forms of energy, plus it is not dependent on wind, water, or sunlight. I encourage all African nations to move rapidly to harness the power of the Sun on earth through nuclear energy. The most complete means for African nations to break free from the legacy of colonialism, is to design nuclear powered manufacturing-industrialized economies; ending poverty and hunger.  

Nuclear Energy in Africa – Lessons from Ghana

The Republic of Ghana has a long and complicated history with nuclear energy dating back to the country’s immediate post-independence period. Despite being derailed at multiple points on a long, uneven journey, recent developments around Ghana’s nuclear plans provide hope and lessons for the rest of Africa.

Ghana has experienced recurring periods of unstable electricity supply in 1983, 1997-1998; 2003; 2006-2007 and again from 2011-2017. Domestic natural gas and oil reserves provide some relief, but projections indicate that these will dry up by 2045. The National Electrification Scheme (NES) aimed for universal electricity access by 2020; however this is more realistically attainable by 2022.

Access to electricity in Ghana is fairly widespread with the electricity access rate at 85% in 2019. However, problems with the country’s conventional sources of electricity signal that the time is right for Ghana to pursue its nuclear aspirations alongside other renewable energy generation options to achieve the twin goals of economic development and consistent electricity supply.

By 2057, Ghana hopes to have a highly industrialised economy. It has singled out nuclear power as a key vehicle of development. Ghana’s nuclear ambitions started with the establishment of the Kwabenya Nuclear Reactor Project in 1961. Derailed by consecutive military coups d’état, the project remains uncompleted. Commitment to the establishment of a functioning, effective nuclear power programme from government has also been inconsistent.

Yet recent developments provide hope. The return of nuclear energy to the country’s development agenda is accelerated by the need for a stable electricity supply. In 2015 the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out a ‘Phase 1 Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission (INIR)’ in the country.

INIR evaluations represent an important step in the establishment of a nuclear energy programme in any country and ensure that expert decisions guide these highly technical projects. INIR evaluations are based on the IAEA’s ‘Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power‘ document, which outlines three development phases of a nuclear power programme.

First phase reviews assess the readiness of a country to embark on the road to nuclear power and take place at the decision-making stage. Second phase reviews follow directly from the first and entail putting into place concrete actions after the decision to go nuclear has been taken. In the final phase, the nuclear power programme is implemented.

Not long after the GAEC initiated contact with the IAEA, the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO), (https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/iaea-reviews-progress-of-ghanas-nuclear-infrastructure-development), which is responsible for overseeing the programme, provided a self-evaluation report. Acting on both the initial communication as well as the report submitted by the GNPPO, the IAEA sent an expert team to Ghana in January 2017 in order to carry out the INIR Mission.

The team determined that Ghana had sufficiently progressed in order to begin preparation for the second phase of the project and another Review Mission. Before progressing to this next phase; however, the evaluation team suggested prioritising further research and bolstering of Ghana’s legal framework.

Establishing a nuclear power project seems logical for a country that is no stranger to the peaceful application of nuclear technology. Ghana has successfully operated a 30kW nuclear research reactor for more than two decades. The Ghana Research Reactor-1 (GHARR-1) is one of 12 research reactors on the African continent and plays a vital role in the education and training of personnel to oversee its emerging nuclear energy programme. GHARR-1 is also relied on for research , particularly the treatment of nuclear waste and environmental safety, and irradiation projects. Ghana also relies on nuclear technology for administering radiotherapy and other nuclear medicine applications.

The energy supply situation in the rest of Africa is not very different. Power outages are regular occurrences in much of Africa and according to the IAEA, more than half of the population of sub-Saharan Africa remains disconnected from the grid. Nuclear power represents an alternative and reliable source of electricity.

Excluding South Africa, where nuclear power is already established, the IAEA notes that nearly one third of the countries that have approached it for assistance in establishing a nuclear power programme are African. Apart from Ghana, these include Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan. According to the IAEA, the nuclear option is also under consideration in Algeria and Tunisia as well as Uganda and Zambia.

If the road to nuclear energy in Ghana is anything to go by, it is a telling example to other African countries of the commitment necessary, as well as the importance of political stability and political will in implementing a project that holds vast potential for economic and human development.

This piece draws on research conducted by Hubert Foy and Isabel Bosman for an upcoming SAIIA Special Report on the peaceful use of nuclear energy in Ghana.

Read: Nuclear Energy in Africa-Lessons from Ghana 

 Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Nigeria and Egypt Building Railroads: Great News For Africa

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed [PHOTO CREDIT: FMIC Website]
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed [PHOTO CREDIT: FMIC Website]

October 7, 2020

For those of us who understand physical economy, these two developments reported below are truly great news for Africa. Africans have suffered from a paucity of infrastructure in rail construction and energy production. When African nations liberated themselves from colonialism beginning in the 1960s, following 400 years of slavery, they were intentionally left with no infrastructure.  By denying African nations rail systems that connected the continent and electricity to industrialize their economies, the African people have been forced to lived in poverty brought about by imposed underdevelopment. Ghana’s founder, Kwame Nkrumah understood this well. He discussed the necessity of infrastructure to achieve true economic independence in his opening speech to the Organizing of African Unity on May 25, 1963 and his his book, Africa Must Unite. It is a crime that 60 years after the liberation from colonialism, African nations remain grossly deficient in basic infrastructure. Therefore let us rejoice in the progress that African nations are making today, in the 21st century to provide vital infrastructure for their people. We should all celebrate all measures taken to rectify the legacy of colonialism, that denied Africans the right to economic development. To their credit, Presidents Buhari (Nigeria) and el Sesi (Egypt) have pursue the expansion of infrastructure in their respective nations.

Why we’re extending rail construction to Niger Republic – Nigerian govt

“The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, gave the explanation on Friday when he featured on Nigeria Television. Authority (NTA) live programme, “Good Morning Nigeria”

“The programme which focussed on “Nigeria at 60: Matters Arising” was monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

“Specifically, the minister said the rail extension is intended for Nigeria to take economic advantages of import and export of Niger Republic, Chad and Burkina Faso which are landlocked countries.”

Continue Reading: Nigeria Extending Rail Construction to Niger

___________________________________________________________________

Egypt to Build High Speed Rail

China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and Egyptian companies Samcrete and the Arab Organization for Industrialisation have won a $9bn contract to build a 543-km-long high-speed railway in Egypt, reports newspaper The Egypt Independent, citing “senior sources”.

“Accommodating train speeds of 250km/h, the line would link the Mediterranean coast at El-Alamein to the Red Sea at Ain Sokhna, cutting the journey between the two cities to three hours.

“The scheme’s importance to Egypt was compared to the Suez Canal by the chief executive of Samcrete, Sherif Nazmy, who told Arab-language newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm that it would be the first new electric railway in Egypt since 1854.”

Continuing Reading: (Egypt to Build High Speed Rail

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in the economic development policy of Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Africa Development News: Ivory Coast and Ghana Move Forward With Infrastructure

.

IVORY COAST: The government launches the construction of a hydro-agricultural dam in Koro

The Ivorian government has just launched the construction of a dam in the council of Koro in the northwest of Ivory Coast. The water reservoir on the Yirima River is intended for the development of agriculture in this part of the country.

“The realization of this dam will improve agricultural yields and ultimately, the income distributed to farmers. Its realization is therefore in line with the second phase of actions taken to accelerate the emergence of the Bafing region,” said Minister Moussa Sanogo.

 

September 9, 2020

China-Ghana cooperation thriving despite COVID-19:

The site of the upgrading project of Ghana coastal road in Accra Photos: Courtesy of CGICOP

China and Ghana are continuing to promote bilateral trade despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as the two sides actively push several programs ahead….

“Meanwhile, a 26-kilometer-long road project linking Ghana’s capital city Accra and Ghana’s largest port city Tema, one of the Belt and Road Initiative’s landmark construction projects, recently kicked off. ”

Read the full article: http://enapp.globaltimes.cn/#/article/1199432

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in the economic development policy of Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

In the Next Decade, Nuclear Power for Africa Is A Necessity, Not An Option

Image credit: IAEA

12/28/2019

In the next decade, beginning on January 1, 2020, African nations must pursue nuclear energy. This is necessary to provide energy to the continent, which is suffering from a huge deficit in electricity, but nuclear technology has many additional benefits to African economies.  This includes creating large amounts of potable water. With nuclear power plants along the Mediterranean and Red Sea, the equivalent of a “second Nile River” from desalination through nuclear powered desalination would transform the nations of the Nile Basin. Constructing Small Modular Nuclear Reactors-SMRs (see below) in every African nation would be a important first step towards ending poverty and industrializing the continent.  Let me bluntly state: without abundant, low cost energy, Africa will not develop, and its people will suffer. Energizing Africa is not an option, it is a life and death necessity!

{Sustainable Times} published a valuable article on December 23, 2019: Can Nuclear Unlock Africa’s Development?

Excerpts:

“Combining renewables with nuclear power, however, makes the task of powering Africa’s growing economies more viable – not to mention the other useful and often overlooked aspects that nuclear can contribute to development. Although South Africa is the only country on the continent currently operating a nuclear power plant, the technology is being increasingly considered by African leaders. For example, works are set to begin on a new 4.8GW plant in El Dabaa Egypt next year, which is being developed by Russia’s Rosatom.

“Other countries including Ethiopia, Zambia, Nigeria and Ghana also have memorandums of understanding with Rosatom that pave the way for nuclear development. South Korea are also looking to invest in the continent’s energy industry, while Chinese nuclear firms have entered into agreements with Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Energy is a key driver for development. In Ghana, for example, nuclear is seen as the obvious way to provide reliable energy for bauxite refineries which would increase jobs and export capacity.

Technology beyond electricity

“But nuclear technology provides more than just energy: many advanced nuclear designs produce high-temperature process heat for uses in desalination plants, chemical production and even district heating systems. These subsidiary features would allow nuclear technology to benefit society beyond the generation of electricity – and potentially accelerating its deployment.

“Nuclear technologies are already being used in agriculture, for example, where isotopes and radiation techniques are harnessed to combat pests and diseases or to increase livestock and crop production. For instance, farmers in Benin have increased their maize yields by 50 percent, while simultaneously reducing the amount of fertiliser used by 70 percent, thanks to the deployment of nuclear-derived nitrogen-fixation methods – the same techniques that are allowing Maasai farmers in Kenya to double vegetable crop yields with half the irrigation of traditional methods.

“By contrast, nuclear desalination could use the excess heat from new reactor designs like Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) to produce thermal and electrical energy without emitting greenhouse gases, which then transforms seawater into freshwater. While capital costs for nuclear plants are initially high, fuel costs are low and stable: a doubling in the price of uranium would result in only a five percent increase in the total cost of energy generation. In contrast, an equivalent increase in oil would cause freshwater production costs to surge by 70 percent.”

 Read: Can Nuclear Unlock Africa’s Development?

____________________________________________________________

Progress for Small Modular Reactors

December 13, 2019—There’s some real good news for the U.S. economy today.  NuScale, an Oregon company that is developing a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR), has passed the next stage of review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Progress for Small Nuclear Reactors

Cross-section of NuScale small modular reactor (world nuclear news)

As this blog has reported before, the mass development of nuclear power is a critical component to bringing the productivity of the U.S. economy out of the doldrums, and thus bringing us into a new era of prosperity.  High-speed rail, modernized water systems, the space program, and many other components of an economic recovery program depend upon generating huge amounts of electricity that are way beyond our current capacity.  Nuclear represents a leap in productivity that will allow us to get there, as well as a step on the way to the development of thermonuclear fusion.

NuScale’s design for an SMR has now gone through four phases of review. It still has to go through stages 5 and 6. According to the company’s press release, the Oregon-based company is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as other companies. It has received support from Congress.

As I outlined in a post approximately one year ago, the promise of SMRs lies not only in their safety design, but in the fact that the United States still has the industrial capacity to produce them assembly-line fashion. Over the past 40 years, the heavy industrial capability for producing a standard-sized nuclear reactor (measured in hundreds of megawatts or over 1000) has been dismantled. But a small reactor of 12 to 50 megawatts could be produced in assembly-line fashion, and provide a flexible means of providing power outside major urban areas, including hard-to-reach regions.

The United States is not the only country working on SMRs, and some in the industry are seeking to motivate investment in NuScale on the basis of “beating the competition.”  Such peaceful competition has a huge positive payoff for the human race, and can only be encouraged. Thus NuScale’s progress with the NRC is most welcome news.

The NuScale press release can be read in full here.