Libmonster ID: UK-1469
Author(s) of the publication: E. N. KORENDYASOV


Candidate of Economic Sciences

Institute of Africa, Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: nuclear power industry, nuclear energy market, energy strategy, reactor construction

The global nuclear power industry is on the rise. 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, and it is gradually fading into oblivion. The Fukushima disaster (2011), contrary to gloomy forecasts, did not have a noticeable negative impact on the pace of construction of new nuclear power plants. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (February 2015), there are 440 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries, and 68 new ones are under construction. 1

Against this background, Africa is experiencing an acute energy crisis. It is precisely the lack of electricity that prevents African countries from benefiting from the use of mineral resources.

The state of affairs in the energy sector of the African economy can be assessed as depressing. South Africa accounts for more than 40% of the continent's electricity production, and several dozen other countries account for about 60%.

The installed capacity of all power plants on the continent is 114 GW. This is the same amount as in Germany, which has a population 14 times smaller than in Africa.2 Per capita electricity consumption in sub - Saharan Africa (SSA) is only 457 kWh, while excluding South Africa, it is 124 kWh per year. For comparison, in developing countries of the world (with the exception of those located on the African continent), this indicator is, on average, 1,155 kW / hr3.

More than 70% of the population of the SSA states does not have access to electricity. Thermal power plants run mainly on coal or diesel fuel, and their equipment is morally and physically outdated. In the SSA countries, industrial enterprises lose 56 days a year due to emergency shutdowns (for comparison, in the USA-one day in 10 years) 4.


The way out, as soon as possible, from the truly catastrophic situation in the field of energy supply, the leaders of most African states over the past decade and a half see in the nuclear power industry. There are a number of favorable industrial-financial and scientific-technical prerequisites for this. There are already 10 research nuclear reactors operating in Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. By 2010, under the auspices of the IAEA, 28 countries had established independent nuclear regulatory bodies responsible for overseeing the reliability and safety of reactor operations.

On the African continent, many advantages of nuclear power plants are appreciated. They are characterized by environmental neutrality, high reliability, stability, and a long period of operation. High initial investment in the construction of nuclear power plants is offset by relatively low costs for their operation over a long life cycle-up to 60 years or more. The development of peaceful nuclear power expands access to innovative technologies for Africans and the possibility of using them in the modernization of the national economy.

The attractiveness of nuclear power is significantly increased due to the dynamically developing development of new, more reliable, safer and less expensive nuclear power reactors. According to the IAEA Director General Yu. Amano, 45 innovative small-and medium-sized reactors are currently being developed.5 In June 2014, US Secretary of Energy E. Moniz met with his African colleagues and announced his readiness to build mini-reactors with a capacity of 50 to 200 MW on the basis of a public-private partnership on the continent.6 They are primarily intended for rural settlements and are located underground.

Russia has also developed a new type of reactor "Brest", operating in a closed circuit.

page 2


Nuclear power projects in Africa

A country

Number of reactors


Commissioning period

Prospective partners

Progress of implementation


1 - 2

1000 MW each


Russia, South Korea

2008-a decision was made; 2012-a design institute was established. September 2014-an agreement on the construction, operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants and research reactors was signed.



1000-1200 MW

2020 y.


November 19, 2015 Russia and Egypt have signed an agreement on the construction of a nuclear power plant in the Dabaa region with four 1,200 MW nuclear power units each using 3+technology. The project implementation period is 12 years. Russia provides a state export credit for the construction of nuclear power plants.



1000 MW each


France, USA

The plans were made public in 1984. The country operates a research reactor. In 2014, it passed the IAEA's Nuclear Infrastructure Readiness inspection.



700-1000 MW


France, USA

Government decision.



700 MW



There is an IAEA permit.



1000 MW



$2 million was invested in preparatory work.



700-1000 MW


South Africa, USA, France

A fundamental decision of the government was made.






The Government has approved the legal basis for the use of peaceful nuclear energy.


6 - 8

9.6 GW


France, China,

There are partnership agreements in the field of nuclear energy with Russia, France, China, South Korea, and the United States.

Source: compiled by the author.

the cycle. Its main advantage is absolute safety. It can run on old, spent fuel; it cannot produce raw materials for making nuclear weapons. The capacity of the serial "Brest" - 700-1000 MW?.

16 African countries have more or less definitely announced their plans to build nuclear power plants: Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Cape Verde, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda. However, only in 5 or 6 States have these intentions become practical (see Table).

According to the published programs, between 17 and 20 nuclear power units with a total capacity of 16,000 MW should be built in Africa by 2030. However, experts do not hide their pessimism regarding the achievement of the declared goals. Most projects are in the preliminary or initial stages of their implementation.

Meanwhile, according to the available experience and regulatory documents,-

page 3

According to the IAEA regulations for countries with a poorly developed technological base, the construction of the first nuclear power plant takes at least 15 years. Kenya, Morocco and Nigeria underwent preliminary inspections of the IAEA's nuclear infrastructure readiness level. The IAEA mission that visited South Africa also stated the country's readiness to implement its nuclear power project.

The key issue here is whether States have the necessary financial and human resources. The total amount of investment for the implementation of declared projects reaches $300 billion. Only the cost of preparatory work in one country is $3-3.5 billion. Great efforts are required to train skilled workers, engineers, and nuclear scientists. According to the IAEA estimates, the operation of a single nuclear power plant requires from 200 to 1,000 highly qualified specialists. Today, less than 10,000 people are employed in the nuclear sector in Africa.8

Nevertheless, there is every reason to say that nuclear energy has favorable prospects on the African continent. It is becoming an integral part of the overall energy package of international economic growth assistance programs in Africa.


Rosatom's interest in the African nuclear energy market began to show clearly at the turn of the 2000s. At first, the corporation was interested in African uranium; negotiations on this issue were held in Botswana, Namibia, Niger and other countries. However, Rosatom, with the acquisition of Atomredmetzoloto (a subsidiary of Rosatom) in 2010 for $1.15 billion. Australian company Mantra Resources, received a project for the extraction of uranium at the Mkuja River field in Tanzania (reserves - 46 thousand tons). t), the progress of these negotiations significantly slowed down. A little later, Atomredmetzoloto also acquired the Canadian uranium company Uranium One9.

In June 2012, an intergovernmental framework agreement was signed on the design and construction of a nuclear power plant in Nigeria by Russia.

Recently, negotiations on Russia's participation in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Egypt have made significant progress. In February 2015 Rosatom has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Electrification of Egypt on the implementation of a project for the construction of a 1000 - 1200 MW nuclear power plant. Thus, the implementation of the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy, concluded back in 2008, has begun.

But the main focus of Rosatom is currently focused on the implementation of agreements on the participation of Russian enterprises in the implementation of the South African nuclear energy program.

The energy crisis in this country is becoming more acute - population growth, physical and moral aging of the equipment of thermal power plants, which account for up to 90% of electricity production, are affected. Some social development programs and the stability of relations with neighboring countries, whose economy largely depends on the state of energy in South Africa, are in danger of failure.

In 2000, the Government of the Republic of South Africa stated that it considers the development of nuclear energy as a priority area of the national energy strategy. This choice is based on the presence of a developed industrial, technical and scientific base in the country and already accumulated experience in the use of nuclear energy. It is planned to build 6 nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 9.6 GW by 2030.

In early 2015, the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of the operation of the Safari-I nuclear research reactor. South Africa is currently the world's 3rd largest producer of medical isotopes. For almost 30 years, the first and so far only Coberg nuclear power plant in Africa with a capacity of 1800 MW has been operating in South Africa. The well-known advantages of nuclear power in terms of value also played a role: according to experts of the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa, the production costs of 1 kW / h at a new nuclear power plant will be 50 times lower than the average at a coal-fired power station10.

The Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) has entered a competitive battle for participation in the implementation of South Africa's nuclear plans. And she has quite a lot of chances to win this fight. After all, Rosatom is one of the world's three giants-carriers of leading technologies in the field of nuclear power 11. The corporation unites more than 350 enterprises that perform the entire cycle of work-from the extraction and processing of uranium to the manufacture of sophisticated equipment and research. Rosatom has built 38 nuclear power plants with an installed capacity of 29.4 GW in 10 foreign countries and will launch 25 more reactors by 2030.12 In 24 countries, 9 reactors are under construction, contracts for the construction of 12 power units have been signed, and negotiations are underway for the construction of another 32 and preparations for participation in tenders are underway.13

Rosatom has already "indicated" its participation in the development of nuclear energy in the Republic of South Africa. In 2007, between the two countries

page 4

An agreement was signed on Russia's supply of enriched uranium to South Africa until 2018, covering 43% of South Africa's needs. In 2012-2014, an intensive exchange of delegations took place at the professional and technical level. During the talks, the possibility and parameters of Rosatom's participation in the construction of a nuclear power plant in South Africa were discussed in detail. Strategic issues of nuclear and energy cooperation were the main subject of negotiations between Presidents Vladimir Putin and John Kerry.Zuma during meetings in Durban (South Africa, July 2013), Fortaleza (Brazil, July 2014), Sochi (Russia, August 2014).

During these talks, Russia proposed its own concept for developing partnership in the nuclear energy sector. Our country is ready to work with South African companies to create a full-scale cluster that meets international standards, from the cycle of obtaining nuclear fuel to the engineering and industrial production of sophisticated nuclear equipment, which will allow South African companies to participate in joint projects not only in Africa, but also in other countries.

The Russian side expressed its readiness to build 6 to 8 reactors with "post-Fukushima" (i.e. significantly improved) technology to ensure reliability and safety. Rosatom undertakes to ensure the creation of 15,000 jobs in South Africa directly within the framework of the nuclear project and up to 150,000 in related industries; as well as to promote the training of qualified personnel (this is already being done); and to carry out maintenance, including the supply of fuel cells, throughout the entire life cycle of nuclear power plants.14

In November 2013, Rosatom CEO Sergey Kiriyenko announced at the Atomex-Africa International Forum in Johannesburg that the Russian government could provide a soft state loan of 70-80% of the cost of the project for the construction of reactors in South Africa. In the preliminary plan, the volume of these investments is estimated at between $40 and $50 billion.15

On September 22, 2014, in Vienna, Sergey Kiriyenko and South African Energy Minister Tina J.Petterson signed an Intergovernmental agreement on strategic Partnership in the field of nuclear energy and industry. However, this document is of a framework nature and does not put an end to the struggle for signing contract documents. South Africa has signed similar agreements with France (October 14, 2014), China (November 7, 2014), as well as with the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan. As a result, the competition between South Africa's partners in this area has intensified and, apparently, entered the final phase.


The most aggressive competitor of Rosatom is the powerful French nuclear power monopoly Areva, a historical partner of South Africa in the nuclear field: it was the latter that built the Kuberg NPP and provides assistance in its operation. Areva has assets in 43 countries and has built more than 40 power units abroad.

In South Africa, according to the French press, Areva "will stop at nothing", for her "all means are good"16 to win the auction. This is evidenced, in particular, by the history of Areva's fight with the US-Japanese group Toshiba-Westinghouse for a contract for the repair and modernization of Kuberg NPP reactors in 2008-2010 worth $350 million. Twice the South African authorities annulled the results of the auction, but eventually signed a contract with Areva. Toshiba-Westinghouse challenged this decision in court, but lost - behind-the-scenes maneuvers of the French played a role here 17.

On October 14-15, 2013, French President Francois Hollande paid an official visit to Pretoria. Hollande was accompanied by 8 ministers and about 20 big businessmen. Partnership in the energy sector was at the top of the agenda. France offers to build 8-10 power units based on third-generation reactors (EPR) in South Africa. Although, and this is significant , unlike Rosatom's proposals, the French side does not focus its proposals on the transfer of relevant technologies and the possibility of providing loans.

Areva is trying to reach a "united front" with China in the fight over South Africa's nuclear project. It is claimed that the French are taking these steps at the suggestion of the South Africans18. The latter obviously hope that combining French nuclear technology expertise with the financial resources of the PRC will allow them to achieve a decisive competitive advantage. Areva makes it clear that it will place a significant part of orders for equipment in China and the Republic of Korea if it wins the tender.

Recently, the PRC has been making vigorous efforts to "introduce" the South Asian energy sector. For example, in February 2014, the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Nesca) signed an agreement with two leading Chinese companies, the General Nuclear Power Corporation and the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation, to train nuclear specialists in China. Moreover, the Chinese take on

page 5

93% of expenditures for these purposes 19. In March of the same year, the Chinese announced their readiness to take part in the construction of 6 reactors in the period up to 1930.

The estimated investment for one Chinese reactor (presumably of the CPR-1000 type) is 50% lower than the cost of a French reactor. However, French experts are still skeptical about the creation of a Franco-Chinese alliance on South African soil-the risks are too great.20

Although Russia, France and China are the obvious favorites in the fight for the "nuclear jackpot" in South Africa, we can not completely discount the Japanese - American and South Korean players who have not yet said the last word.

The struggle over the nuclear power project is widely reflected in the domestic political life of South Africa. The aspiration of President J. R. R. TolkienZuma and his inner circle are facing resistance both within the African National Congress (ANC) party and in government areas, such as the Ministry of Energy, as well as the National Energy Commission, headed by the country's Deputy President. And in the emerging discussions, it is sometimes not about the essence of the matter, but about competition for influence on the distribution of material and financial flows that appear during the practical implementation of the planned plans for the construction of nuclear power plants.

The political opposition, led by the Democratic Alliance, and the right-wing forces in general, are seeking to exclude our country from participating in the creation of the nuclear industry in South Africa. Pointing out the economic and financial difficulties of modern Russia that have arisen as a result of sanctions, the decline in oil prices, as well as the crisis phenomena in the Russian economy, the mouthpiece of the right forces - the Mail and Guardian newspaper-tries to prove the inconsistency and impracticability of the terms of lending, technological and other benefits put forward by Rosatom 21.

Among the population of South Africa, there are still great doubts about the reliability and safety of nuclear power plants for people and the environment. There are also strong concerns that large financial expenditures (up to $100 billion) will slow down the country's social development and increase its debt burden. However, President J. R. R. TolkienZuma does not intend to delay the decision on the issue of partners and the beginning of practical work in the field of nuclear energy development. Speaking in Parliament on February 12, 2015, with a "Message to the Nation", he said that South Africa should soon choose one or more partners in order to launch the first of the planned reactors by 2023. It is officially announced that the tender will be held before April 1, 2016.

Rosatom's path to the South African nuclear energy market is difficult and tortuous. We are talking about our priority partner in Africa and putting this partnership on solid and long-term foundations based on high technologies, science, technology and information and communication innovations.

Rosatom has many competitive advantages, including the traditions of mutual trust formed during the struggle against apartheid,and the growing solidarity within the BRICS. Resources for finding optimal mutually acceptable conditions and parameters have not yet been exhausted, including in the framework of discussions around the "build-own-operate" model in any ratio of its components.

The signing in November 2015 of an agreement between Russia and Egypt on the start of practical implementation of the construction of a 3+ generation nuclear power plant in this country, consisting of four power units with a capacity of 1,200 MW each, significantly complements Rosatom's competitive advantages on the African continent.22

1 Statement at Nuclear Africa 2015 Conference by JAEA Director General Yukiya Amano -

Heuraux Ch. 2 L'electricite au coeur des Africains - 16087

3 Banque Mondiale. Diagnostique des infrastructures nationales en Afrique. AIE. P. 2014. P. 3.

4 Ibidem.



7 Arguments of the week. No. 12, April 2, 2015

8 Slate Afrique. Nuclecure boom en Afrique - http://www.Slateafrique.Cov/34378/energie-le-nucleire-en-afrique

9 Rosatom goes to Africa -

Rob A. 10 Nuclear power as a cost effective baseload option for South Africa. NIASA 2014.

11 Russian Atomic Community: Peaceful Atom in Africa - 24 995

12 Atomic Expert (magazine). 2014. N 1 - 2.

Petrov S. 13 Rosatom Analysis. June 10, 2014. P. 7.

14 State Atomic Energy Corporation. "ROSATOM" 27/03/2015 Press veleage - http:///www/


Faull L. 16 Afrique du Sud: rien n'arrete Areva dans sa conquete nucleaire. Site du Groupe // Le -


Gweth G. 18 La franco-chinoise du nuclftaire sud-africain -

19 http://multinationals.Org/Areva-contrat-tres-conteste-en

20 Ibidem.

21 Mail and Guardian - - 02 - 19-sas-nuclear-dead-with-Russia-is-fa

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