Atoms for Africa

Is There a Future for Civil Nuclear Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa?

In a new paper commissioned by the Center for Global Development, Breakthrough Institute analysts tackled the question of whether nuclear energy has a future in sub-Saharan Africa.

Policymakers are beginning to consider next generation nuclear power to meet some of the continent’s energy demand. This has enormous potential to provide a clean baseload of energy, minimizing carbon emissions while simultaneously alleviating energy deficits. Significant challenges remain, like high capital cost, long timelines, weak institutions, and proliferation concerns. But there is reason for optimism: innovative nuclear technologies could vastly improve the feasibility of widespread nuclear power in the African continent. With new designs, African countries can leapfrog over the large-scale, traditional light-water nuclear technologies to nuclear technology that is smaller, modular, more flexible, and overall more appropriate.

This paper outlines the current status of nuclear deployment in Africa, explores the challenges that remain, and summarizes new ways to move forward. Download the full report here.