As Rwanda considers setting up a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST) in the next five years with the support of Russia, the prospects have got brighter as Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) rolled out a floating power unit, Akademik Lomonosov, at the port of its permanent location in Pevek, Chukotka, in Russia’s the Far East. It is being docked to start operations by the end of this year.
Rwanda is also set to tap from the opportunities presented by the said technology to meet part of its power needs in the next five years.
“Rwanda envisions having a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology in the nearest future,” says Robert Nyamvumba, the Energy Division Manager at the Ministry of Infrastructure.
ROSATOM is one of the world’s most experienced providers of nuclear energy services.
Once commissioned, it will become the world’s first operational nuclear power plant based on small modular reactors (SMRs) technology; and a ‘working prototype’ for a reliable source of low-carbon energy supply in remote areas.
During its launch, Rosatom’s CEO Alexey Likhachev said: “It’s maybe one small step for sustainable development in the Arctic, but it’s a giant leap for the decarbonization of remote off-grid areas, and a watershed in the development of small modular nuclear power plants in the world.
The project has been welcomed by scientists, nuclear energy experts, and environmentalists across the world.
Last year, Rwanda signed with Russia a cooperation agreement on the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
Talks are now focused on how both soft and physical infrastructures can be set up to pave way for nuclear energy development so it can be used in different areas such as agriculture, medicine, education, and electricity generation.
The official said that cooperation with ROSATOM will see Rwanda and Russia establish study programs that will help Rwandans acquire advanced knowledge in nuclear sciences, with the University of Rwanda training students from the undergrad level, and master’s level, to PhDs.