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Opinion: Bringing nuclear energy technologies to Africa consistent with SDGs 

The Russia-Rwanda intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy signed in Moscow on 5 December 2018 will lay the foundation for active dialogue between the two countries in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and will allow for practical implementation of projects. The document establishes legal basis for interaction between Russia and Rwanda in a wide range of areas, including elaboration of the project for the construction of a Center for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST) and of a Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in the Republic of Rwanda; development of nuclear infrastructure in line with the international requirements; elaboration of the regulation in the field of nuclear safety, supervision of physical protection of nuclear materials, radiation sources, storage facilities of nuclear and radioactive materials as well as supervision of the accounting and control of nuclear and radiation materials and radioactive waste; fundamental and applied research in the field of peaceful atom; manufacturing of radioisotopes and their application in manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare; training and development of specialists for the nuclear industry.

Brining nuclear energy technologies to the African continent is consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals proclaimed by the United Nations for the entire world, Leonid Gusev, senior researcher at the Institute of International Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told the Energy Expert Center. According to him, Africa is in dire need of energy as it seeks to raise the standard of living of broad sectors of the population. In this context, "nuclear energy, with its projected cost of the final product, guaranteed reliable energy supply and the absence of greenhouse gas emissions in the production process, can play a crucial role in the economic development of African countries. The development of the nuclear industry means the development of not only the energy sector but also education and science,” Leonid Gusev said. 

Rosatom is increasingly active in Africa. According to Leonid Gusev, “this makes sense because the continent is actively growing and striving for economic growth. Export of Russian high technologies shows a new trend in relation to Africa. Previously it was regarded as a source of minerals and agricultural products. Today the matter is about establishing new links for technological development”.