Algerian Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi said on Sunday that his country is set to run the first nuclear power plant before 2029, the local national radio reported.

“Nuclear is not for today, but we cannot deny that it is an essential domain, like other sources, for our energy efficiency and our economic development,” Yousfi told a press conference during an international conference on the gas industry, being held in the province of Oran, 450km east of Algiers.

“For now, we are focusing on preparing experimental reactors and investing in the training of human skills, in anticipation of this goal,” he said.

Concerning the issue of the development of renewable energies, Yousfi has affirmed that the national programme will help acquire a basis of photovoltaic panels, “one of the best in the region and in Africa.”

The North African nation has been heading towards developing nuclear energy to diversify its energy sources. It has signed nuclear cooperation agreements with Russia, the USA, China, and Argentina.