Russia expands atomic energy cooperation with Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Burundi

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At Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum in St. Petersburg, two additional countries, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe have entered into agreements with Russia to collaborate on the peaceful utilization of nuclear technology

In a move towards enhancing atomic energy cooperation in Africa, Russia has signed agreements with three countries, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Burundi. These agreements pave the way for peaceful utilization of nuclear technology, encompassing various vital sectors.

In a recent development, Russia, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe solidified their intergovernmental agreement, which builds upon a memorandum of understanding reached in September 2021. The agreement was signed by Rosatom Director General Alexei Likhachev and Ethiopia’s Minister ofInnovation Technology Bellete Molla, and Zimbabwe’s Energy Minister Soda Zhemu. According to Rosatom, a world leader in nuclear technology, the pact establishes a legal framework for cooperation between the two nations in the peaceful use of atomic energy, spanning several key areas:

  1. Infrastructure Development: Russia will provide assistance in the creation and improvement of nuclear infrastructure, ensuring compliance with international guidelines.
  2. Safety and Regulation: Collaboration will focus on nuclear and radiation safety regulations to maintain secure and efficient operations.
  3. Medical, Industrial, and Agricultural Applications: The agreement aims to facilitate the production of radioisotopes and their utilization in industry, medicine, and agriculture, contributing to various sectors’ advancements.
  4. Radiation Technologies and Nuclear Medicine: Both countries will cooperate in the application of radiation technologies and nuclear medicine, fostering advancements in healthcare and medical treatments.
  5. Education and Training: A critical component of the agreement involves education, training, and retraining programs for specialists in the nuclear industry, ensuring a skilled workforce for sustained development.

The roadmap for bilateral cooperation in the peaceful application of atomic energy outlines specific steps to be taken between 2023 and 2025, aiming to explore the possibilities of constructing a nuclear power plant of large or small capacity and a Nuclear Science and Technology Center in Ethiopia. The roadmap also highlights collaborative efforts to develop Ethiopia’s national nuclear infrastructure, organize technical tours, seminars, and meetings of specialized working groups.

Moreover, Burundi and Russia have taken significant strides in strengthening their nuclear cooperation. The two nations signed a memorandum that focuses on peaceful nuclear technology utilization, including personnel training, applications in medicine and agriculture, and energy production.

Africa has been taking steady steps towards nuclear energy utilization, and apart from South Africa, which already operates a nuclear energy plant, Egypt is set to become the next country to house such a facility. Russia’s Rosatom is currently constructing the four VVER-1200 unit El Dabaa nuclear power plant in Egypt, indicating Russia’s continued commitment to supporting nuclear energy projects in the region.

These developments are expected to open new avenues for socio-economic growth and technological advancements in the respective African nations while fostering stronger ties with Russia. The agreements signify a shared vision of harnessing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, promoting sustainable development, and meeting the growing energy needs of the continent.

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