Russia and Guinea to begin construction of floating nuclear power plants

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ST. PETERSBURG – Russia and the Republic of Guinea have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to embark on a significant nuclear project.

This agreement, formalized at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), underscores Russia’s expanding nuclear initiatives across Africa. Details of the project remain limited, but according to a report by the Russian newspaper Sputnik, the collaboration aims to establish floating nuclear power plants in Guinea.

The Russian state energy corporation Rosatom confirmed the project in a statement released on Friday, according to the Business Insider Africa. Floating nuclear power plants, according to Foro Nuclear, are platforms at sea equipped with one or more nuclear reactors. These autonomous units can provide electricity and heat to remote areas, such as the cold Northern territories, and can also generate drinking water through desalination techniques.

“The parties will study the possibility of implementing the floating power units project in the Republic of Guinea within the framework of the agreement reached and will work out the terms and conditions of the project,” Rosatom stated.

This initiative is part of Russia’s broader strategy to fortify its ties with African nations. In March, Burkina Faso was reported to be finalizing a nuclear deal with Rosatom, aiming to construct a nuclear reactor. This follows the commencement of work on Egypt’s Dabaa nuclear power plant’s fourth unit in January, launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Rosatom’s pursuit of the African market is driven by the continent’s economic potential. The corporation has already established relationships with several African countries, including Mali, Zimbabwe, and Burundi. Nigeria is also poised to enhance its nuclear capabilities in partnership with Russia, aligning with its ambition to join the BRICS group of nations. The Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission and Rosatom are expediting this collaboration, including training programs.

Tanzania has similarly expressed interest in leveraging Russian nuclear technology to boost its economy. Doto Biteko, Tanzania’s Minister for Minerals, highlighted this interest during the ‘Cooperation in the Science and Technology’ panel at the ‘Nuclear Technologies for the Development of the African Region’ discussion.

Rwanda, in 2019, signed a deal with Rosatom to establish nuclear plants, though it faced considerable resistance due to safety concerns. Uganda also inked an agreement with Rosatom in 2016 to build a nuclear facility, which ultimately did not materialize.

Russia’s nuclear influence continues to grow in Africa, with the recent agreements highlighting the continent’s strategic importance in Russia’s global nuclear energy expansion plans.