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Nuclear key to unlocking Africa’s potential

EARLY last month Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom supported the 2nd African Youth Nuclear Summit on the potential of nuclear science and technology applications in Africa.

African Young Generation in Nuclear (AYGN) hosted the event in Centurion, South Africa in collaboration with the South African Young Nuclear Professionals Society (SAYNPS).

The conference was also supported by the World Nuclear Association, African Commission on Nuclear Energy, Department of Mineral Resources and Energy of South Africa, Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA), National Nuclear Regulator of South Africa, and the International Science and Technology Centre and was attended by young professionals and seasoned experts from across the globe.

Rosatom is the company behind the construction of a Centre of Nuclear Science and Technology in Chongwe under an engineering and procurement contract signed with the Zambian government in 2018.

The CNST, which will not generate electricity, will provide a wide range of applications of radiation technologies in medicine, agriculture and industry, which include a technological industry platform to enhance national industry development. The centre will also promote the enhancement of national education and science through the training of highly qualified experts in various fields.

The conference in Centurion brought together over 200 dedicated participants across the continent, from the academia, nuclear research institutions, nuclear service providers, prospective and current operators as well as regulators to share experience, exchange ideas and network on issues related to nuclear science and technology.

In a speech, Ryan Collyer, deputy CEO of Rosatom Central and Southern Africa, said apart from electricity generation, nuclear technology offers Africans unique and exciting opportunities to benefit health services, agriculture, education, scientific research and industry.

“Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions surrounding our industry and we as an industry should stand together and dispel them. We are working closely with AYGN to do our part in delivering the great stories from our industry, to highlight its true potential to become a catalyst for sustainable development in Africa,” Collyer said.

“We all understand that nuclear will play a vital role in achieving the United Nations sustainability goals not only in Africa but across the globe.”

AYGN president Gaopalelwe Santswere highlighted that the focus of the conference was to share, exchange ideas and network on issues related to nuclear science and technology as well as demystify nuclear in the region.

“The intention to build new nuclear power plants within the African continent has sparked great interest in the field of nuclear science and technologies with more young professionals within the continent taking up careers relating to the industry. The further progress will not succeed without participation of young nuclear professionals and collaborations amongst them,” said Santswere. “Our first priority is to dispel many misconceptions about the power of atoms and we hope one day the nuclear industry will be celebrated for its grand achievement of bettering the lives of millions across the globe.” ROSATOM

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