African Continental Nuclear Institutions: A Review
Nuclear energy is expected to play an increasingly important role in Africa’s energy programmes. At least 16 countries are looking at ways to include nuclear as part of their energy mix, with emphasis on electrification and energy security. Current use includes medicinal and agricultural applications, with the potential to play a much larger role in the continent. Still, major concerns exist around the safety and security of nuclear projects. Disasters such as those witnessed in Chernobyl and Fukushima must be avoided, and nuclear materials must be protected from theft by terrorists. For these reasons and more, nuclear energy is highly regulated. Many African states are already members of international regimes on nuclear disarmament, safety and security, and non-proliferation. The focus of this paper is on four main African institutions and legal frameworks, which are reviewed in a global context. The first is the 1996 Treaty of Pelindaba, which establishes Africa and its surrounding islands as a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone (NWFZ). The second is the treaty’s implementation body, the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE). The third is the Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa (FNRBA). The fourth is Africa Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA).