Mali signs nuclear plant deals with Russia’s Rosatom

Mali’s ruling military junta has inked three cooperation agreements with Russia’s state nuclear corporation, Rosatom.

The deals, signed on July 2nd and 3rd, open the door for potential collaboration on a low-power nuclear power plant designed by Russia, alongside solar energy and geological exploration projects.

This move comes amidst Rosatom’s efforts to expand its presence in Africa.

The state-owned company has been actively signing cooperation deals with various African countries in recent years.

Notably, Rosatom has been focusing on building ties with West Africa’s Sahel region, where military coups have led to strained relations with traditional Western allies.

Details regarding the proposed low-power nuclear plant are scarce.

Rosatom’s statement highlights discussions on “a strategic project to build a Russian-designed low-power nuclear power plant in Mali,” but specifics about the plant’s capacity or construction timeline remain undisclosed.

The statement does mention ongoing communication between both parties for “close contacts and periodic coordination.”

Currently, South Africa’s Koeberg plant near Cape Town is the only operational nuclear power station on the African continent. Rosatom is, however, involved in building another nuclear plant in Egypt.

It’s worth noting that a much larger nuclear power deal (9,600 megawatts) between South Africa and Russia was blocked by a court challenge in 2017.

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