Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom on 31 October signed agreements with Tanzania and Uganda, just a few months after concluding similar deals with Kenya, Zambia, Ghana and Nigeria, signalling Russia’s intention to become a key player in Africa’s in nuclear development. 

In Tanzania, Andre Shutov, the vice president of Uranium One, a Rosatom subsidiary, said Rosatom would build a nuclear power research reactor as the first stage towards introducing nuclear energy development in Tanzania. “Production of uranium will be our main goal, and the first production will be made in 2018, with expectations to generate revenues for the company and Tanzania” he said. Uranium One has already been granted a permit by the Tanzania government to mine and extract uranium in Mkuju River within Selous Game Reserve. Tanzania is looking at having a plant by 2025 and will require at least $4 billion to actualise its nuclear dreams.

In Uganda, Rosatom is offering expertise and support as Uganda moves towards building its first NPP by 2034. Viktor Polikarpov, Rosatom’s regional vice-president of sub-Saharan Africa, said Rosatom would provide professional training in nuclear infrastructure development, staff training, public acceptance, nuclear medicine, and agriculture. Uganda’s parliament approved the principle of the peaceful use of nuclear power in 2002 and passed the Atomic Energy Act establishing the Atomic Energy Council, the national regulator, and the Nuclear Energy Unit forming part of the Ministry of Energy in 2008.