Innovative Nuclear Needs Equal Advances in Regulation to Prosper in Africa
A response to "Atoms for Africa"
Atoms for Africa provides a good and realistic summary of the prospects and challenges to deployment of nuclear power in Africa. Most notably, the paper identifies a critical limiting assumption that nuclear plants deployed in Africa will be the size and type of existing nuclear plants deployed in developed countries. The paper notes that practical and effective large-scale deployment of nuclear power in Africa will require small advanced reactors.
In addition to advanced nuclear technology, effective deployment will also require an advanced regulatory framework, which should reflect the safety, security and communication capabilities of the advanced technology. As an analogy, assuming the only cars on the roads were driver-less, the transportation regulatory framework that would be required would be very different from what we currently have, as it may require no licensing of drivers, reduced traffic enforcement and reduced emergency response. Similarly, an advanced nuclear regulatory framework that accounts for the benefits of advanced reactors may require fewer resources for effective deployment.
In summary, nuclear power deployment in sub-Saharan Africa will require advanced nuclear technology, as noted in the paper, but also a concomitant advanced regulatory framework. The following is a list of some deployment barriers and how the technology and regulatory framework can address them.