Türkiye offers key lessons to states, including the ones in Africa, that are pursuing nuclear energy development, the Deputy Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mikhail Chudakov said Thursday.
Nearly one-third of the countries that have approached the IAEA for assistance in establishing a nuclear power program are African, Chudakov highlighted.
Chudakov’s remarks came during an event in Kampala, Uganda, where officials from various countries with nuclear programs and nuclear technology vendors were gathering to discuss nuclear energy developments in Africa.
Chudakov urged African governments to deliberate on nuclear energy, which is pivotal in the fight against climate change and in achieving decarbonization and net zero goals.
Türkiye will host the next Nuclear Business Platform this summer, which will be organized by the Nuclear Technical Support Joint Stock Company (NÜTED A.Ş.) in the southern resort city of Antalya.
Zaf Coelho, managing director of the Nuclear Business Platform, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Türkiye’s first nuclear power plant under construction on the southern Mediterranean coastline serves as an example for African countries that are considering pursuing nuclear energy.
Russia's state nuclear energy company Rosatom is building the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), whose first of four reactors is scheduled to be operational in the first half of this year.
"Türkiye is one of the fastest growing markets globally, and its nuclear energy journey is a befitting example to African countries aspiring to access and gain insights into the nuclear market," Zaf added.
"Like Türkiye, newcomer states to nuclear energy will create jobs, the development of nuclear education and many other positive effects," he added.
Akkuyu nuclear plant will have a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts of electricity, meeting about 10% of Türkiye’s electricity needs. The remaining three reactors are due to start operation by the end of 2026 at a rate of one per year.
According to government figures, if the power plant started operating today, it could single-handedly provide enough electricity for a city of about 15 million people, such as Istanbul. It is estimated to cost $20 billion. Rosatom has a 99.2% stake in the project and is contracted to build, maintain, operate and decommission the plant.
Daniela Lulache, Head of Policy and Co-ordination of the Nuclear Energy Agency from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said nuclear power represents an alternative and reliable source of electricity.
Lulache said it was the right time for Uganda to pursue its nuclear aspirations alongside other renewable energy generation options to achieve the twin goals of economic development and consistent electricity supply.
Meanwhile, Solomon Muyita, the spokesperson for Uganda's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, told AA that the east African country aspires to use nuclear technology for administering radiotherapy and other nuclear medicine applications.