Africa is believed to be the fastest growing economy currently, with a regional growth of over 5% per annum. However, access to reliable power is still a major impediment to its economic development.
“In order for Africa to increase or merely continue its current growth potential, it is clear that the continent needs to bolster its energy mix with reliable and affordable base load power to stimulate industrial activities and economic growth. We most certainly believe that nuclear is an affordable, reliable and environmentally friendly alternative for countries looking to boost and diversify their energy mixes”, notes Dmitry Shornikov, Central and Southern Africa CEO at Rosatom.
Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) is currently undertaking siting studies to identify suitable potential sites for nuclear power development in Kenya as well as a Strategic Environmental Assessment of Kenya’s nuclear power progamme.
As Kenya is edging ever closer to fulfilling its nuclear ambitions, it is interesting to have a look at the example of other countries that have gone further down the nuclear path.
Russian and Chinese nuclear executives recently signed the biggest package of contracts in the history of the two countries’ nuclear partnership. The package consists of 4 deals and envisages the construction of 4 Gen 3+ VVER-1200 units (at the Xudabao and Tianwan sites), cooperation in the CFR-600 fast reactor pilot project, and supply of the RITEG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) parts for China’s lunar exploration programme.
Tianwan NPP is the largest facility ever built within the framework of the Russian-Chinese economic cooperation. The start-up of the first stage of Tianwan NPP (power units 1, 2) was held in 2007. These first two units generate above 15 billion KW/hour of electric power annually. Power unit No.3 was connected to the grid last December.
The design of Tianwan NPP is based on Russia’s AES-91 project with a VVER-1000 reactor, which fully meets the requirements of current Chinese, Russian, and IAEA regulation. The construction of Tianwan nuclear power plant is being carried out by Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation (JNPC) in cooperation with Russia’s Atomstroyexport, a part of the ASE Group of Companies. The commercial operation of power unit No.4 of Tianwan NPP is planned for 2019.
On 30 September the reactor plant of Tianwan NPP unit No 4 was brought to minimum controllable level of power. This is the final stage of the first criticality procedures.
The first criticality procedures of power unit No.4 commenced on 25 August 2018 when upon completion of all preparatory works the first fuel assembly (FA) was installed into the reactor. Totally 163 fuel assemblies were loaded into the reactor. All the works were performed in automatic mode in compliance with the safety rules and ahead of schedule.
“Loading of fuel was completed ahead of schedule, and after obtaining all the required permits, power unit No 4 of Tianwan NPP was brought to minimum controllable level of power. A controlled chain reaction started, the monitoring systems recorded the first neutrons. This will be followed by a power start-up and connection of the power unit to the energy grid of China.” Alexey Bannik, VP, Projects in China of JSC ASE EC.