In Africa, the slow adoption of nuclear science is attributed to a lack of understanding around the benefits of the technology’s application, according to Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The IAEA, recently hosted its 59th general conference and scientific forum in Vienna, Austria, which aimed to encourage African utilities to improve their electricity grids through the adoption of nuclear science, SciDev.Net reported.
According to Amano: “Lack of social acceptance and understanding remains one of the most difficult things in getting Africa to take up nuclear technology, yet it is not as complicated as people see it.”
He added that in addition to improving the electricity sector, this technology has the potential to advance into the health and agriculture sectors as well.
In order to facilitate the procurement of safe and secure nuclear energy to meet development needs, the IAEA has offered their support to African countries.
Amano said: “Access to nuclear technology should not be limited to rich countries only and the IAEA is here as a reliable partner to help with expertise in all aspects of nuclear technology”.
A keen interest in nuclear power generation has been demonstrated by Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Tunisia and Uganda.
The executive chairman of the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board, and chair of the African Union’s commission on nuclear energy, Ochilo Ayacko said: “Africa has missed out on many technologies in the past and should make use of IAEA’s repository of expertise to help solve some of its problems such as inadequate energy”.
Ayacko highlighted that nuclear energy is clean and affordable, despite development costs similar to that of a hydropower dam, nuclear is cheaper to maintain than a coal-fired power plant, SciDev.Net reported.