China seeking to build Sudan’s first nuclear reactor

Tokyo - China National Nuclear Corporation agreed with Sudan to build the African nation’s first atomic reactor, China’s latest effort to expand its nuclear technology footprint abroad.

A framework agreement between the two countries was signed on Monday during a three-day visit to Sudan by Nur Bekri, director of China’s National Energy Administration, according to Xinhua News Agency.

CNNC also signed a cooperation agreement with Sudan’s Ministry of Water Resources and Electricity, according to the People’ Daily.

China is seeking wider acceptance for its atomic technology and expertise amid a global call for cleaner energy. The country plans to export about 30 home-grown nuclear units by 2030, CNNC Chairman Sun Qin said in March, according to China Daily.

“The agreement is a step forward for China’s grand ‘One Belt, One Road’ plan to export technology, including nuclear power and high-speed railway technologies, to African and European nations,” Shi Yan, a Shanghai-based analyst at UOB-Kay Hian, said by phone. “China can provide both technological and financial support for developing nuclear power projects.”

CNNC has plans to build reactors in Argentina and Pakistan, while China General Nuclear Power Corporation is aiming for its own project in Kenya. CGN and Electricite de France SA signed an accord in October to build three reactors in the UK, including the Hinkley Point plant in southwest England and a Chinese-developed reactor at Bradwell.

Sudan aims to begin building its first nuclear reactor in 2021 and start commercial operations by 2027, according to a government presentation last year for the International Atomic Energy Agency. The country is seeking to build two 600 MW pressurised water reactors, it said in the presentation.

With its current power capacity of roughly 3 025 MW, nuclear power will help it meet demand that is expected to swell to 8 500 MW by 2031, it said.

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