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Burkina Faso

Junta is latest to sign Russian nuclear pact

Push into civilian energy markets in Africa continues as the shift away from fossil fuels opens up opportunities for Moscow to export its technology

Burkina Faso is the latest African state to strike a deal on nuclear energy with Russia as the Kremlin continues its push towards civilian nuclear markets. Ministers confirmed that they had signed a memorandum of understanding with Russian state nuclear company Rosatom on 13 October to construct a nuclear power plant.

It follows a request made by Burkina Faso junta leader Captain Ibrahim Traoré to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg in July.

The shift away from fossil fuels to low carbon emitting energy has opened up an opportunity to increase the use of nuclear energy, and encouraging African states to be one of the main export destinations for Russian nuclear technology was one of the priorities of the St Petersburg summit.

A similar agreement was made between Russia and Burundi on the sidelines of the St Petersburg summit, while talks on nuclear co-operation were also held with ministers from Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Russian fuel producer TVEL recently inked an agreement with the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation regarding cooperation in producing and processing nuclear fuel.

The MoU with Ouagadougou signed in Moscow does not give details of the proposed nuclear power plant, its funding, or a timeline for the construction. It said the deal will help develop nuclear infrastructure and technology for medical and agricultural applications.

However, it is likely to be modelled on the arrangement between Rosatom and Egypt, where work is close to completion at the El Dabaa Power Plant financed with a $25 billion preferential loan from Moscow (AC Vol 63 No 5, How Putin revived Moscow's reach).

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