IAEA says Namibia should consider nuclear energy

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Eveline de Klerk

Swakopmund-An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert has encouraged Namibia to pursue nuclear energy as part of power generation in a country that imports huge volumes of energy.

Martin Fairclough, a uranium production specialist from IAEA, was speaking to New Era shortly after he addressed over a 100 international delegates currently attending a two-day uranium conference in Swakopmund.

The conference is hosted by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), Namibian Uranium Institute, the Namibia University of Science an Technology (NUST) and IAEA.

Fairclough said it is not possible for countries to rely on one type of energy supply, as it is highly unlikely that a single source will be sufficient to guarantee long-term energy supply, “especially in countries such as Namibia and South Africa that are already facing challenges with regards to power supply, taking into consideration that their demand for electricity in conjunction with development will increase indefinitely,” he said.

He added that the fact Africa is also one of the fastest growing continents should also be taken in consideration and this Africa should be able to meet the demand of such growth in terms of power supply.

“Therefore, Africa needs to be encouraged to explore other alternatives such as nuclear energy to compliment their current energy supply, in which uranium could be the alternative to balance the energy mix,” said Fairclough.  

Fairclough also told New Era that governments should also create an environment for investment in nuclear power, including professional independent regulatory regime, policies on nuclear waste management and decommissioning, and involvement with international non-proliferation measures.

Adding that this will not only guarantee power supply, but will also maximise benefits for development especially for developing countries, were jobs, food security and human health is essential.

Namibia as a member of the IAEA cooperates with the organisation in various areas of the three pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. These are the peaceful use of nuclear technology, nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Namibia produces about 10 percent of the world’s uranium. However, the country imports about 60 percent of its electricity needs that cost about N$2.6 billion annually.

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