The Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation, ROSATOM and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development of Zimbabwe signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy.
This MoU signed on September 20, 2021, in Vienna, on the sidelines of the 65th IAEA General Conference. From the Russian side, the document was signed by ROSATOM Director General Alexey Likhachev, while Minister of Energy and Power Development Soda Zhemu signed the document on behalf of Zimbabwe.
The Memorandum is the first document signed between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Zimbabwe in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy. The document creates a basis for cooperation in a wide range of areas such as projects in the sphere of non-power applications of atomic energy in industry, agriculture and medicine. Particular attention is paid to personnel training for the Zimbabwean national atomic industry and raising public awareness of nuclear energy.
The Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation, Rosatom is one of the global technological leaders, a diversified holding with energy, mechanical engineering, and construction assets. It is one of the ten largest companies in Russia. Having competencies throughout the entire nuclear fuel cycle, Rosatom has the largest foreign project portfolio in the world; 35 power units at different stages of implementation in 12 countries, including several African countries: Zambia, Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Namibia and South Africa. Rosatom develops Africa in different ways, not only NPP building but also constructing the Nuclear Science and Technology Centers, supporting ecological initiatives and providing food security.
The Government of Rwanda says the planned centre for nuclear science and technology could be established by 2024 if all the technical and economic work goes as planned.
In July 2019 , the parliament approved the law ratifying the agreement between Rwanda and Russia on cooperation in the construction of the centre for nuclear science and technology on the Rwandan territory.
This paves the way for the government to start the work aimed at establishing the centre. The Government will now start conducting a technical and economic feasibility study of the centre, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure.
The key major outcomes of the feasibility study will include the detailed specifications of the intended laboratories, environmental impact assessment report, and respective costs breakdowns.
That long process will also involve economic and financial analysis and a road map of the implementation of the project.
“The objective is to have the Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology by 2024,” an emailed response from the Ministry read. “But of course, this will depend on the outcomes of the feasibility study results.”
The centre would enable Rwanda to develop nuclear energy solutions that would advance several sectors of the country’s economy especially agriculture, health, education, sciences and industry.
Rwanda chose six areas where such applications can be made including nuclear medicine, research reactor laboratory complex, and multipurpose radiation especially in agriculture, education, radiobiology, and material science.
ROSATOM is facilitating the government in the process of the establishment of the centre, which will be financed by the Rwandan government.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requires member states that are intending to engage in nuclear energy development to have an institution responsible for nuclear energy use for peaceful purposes.
The Government will, therefore, establish an independent institution responsible for the centre.