Tanzania has experienced strong growth in recent years, with an average growth of 6.5% over the last decade, thanks to the high level of natural resource exports, the evolution of the tertiary sector (telecommunications, transport, finance, tourism) and the creation of a liberalization program. In 2018, GDP growth reached 6.5% and is expected to remain stable over the next two years, rising by 6.6% in 2019 and 2020. The services sector has been the main contributor to GDP growth, and Tanzania recorded the highest growth in the East African Community in 2018. Although the poverty rate fell from 60 percent in 2007 to around 26.9 percent in 2016, about 13 million Tanzanians remained below the poverty line. This decline was accompanied by an improvement in human development and living conditions. However, poverty and income inequality remain high despite strong economic growth. Tanzania is rich in natural resources, with significant reserves of gold, diamonds, iron, coal, nickel, tanzanite, uranium, tin, phosphates, precious stones and natural gas.
85-90% of the population is not connected to the power grid, as the majority of the population use charcoal and wood for cooking. Biomass constitutes the main source of energy in Tanzania as it’s account for 90% of the total primary energy consumption. Charcoal is the single largest source of household energy in urban areas and represents 20% of total energy use. Tanzania installed capacity is 1,504 MW from which 58.8% is from thermal, hydro is accounting for 36% while renewables are at 5.2%. The electricity access is about 33% leaving 7.7 million households without power. Tanzania is aiming to achieve universal access by 2030, one of the options the Tanzanian government is looking into to tackle this issue is nuclear power.
Tanzania started planning to introduce nuclear power to its energy mix following the discovery of Uranium within the Tanzanian soil. The country signed an agreement with Rosatom in 2016 to build a research reactor in Tanzania as a first step to implementing nuclear power in the country.
Andre Shutov, VP of Uranium One, a Rosatom subsidiary said “Rosatom would build a nuclear power research reactor as the first stage towards introducing nuclear energy development in Tanzania”
In addition to providing electricity, nuclear would help the agricultural sector as food irradiation could boost the agricultural export by preserving the crop longer. As explained by the director-general of Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission, Prof. Lazaro Busagala “Irradiation can make food safer for the consumer as it aims to discontinue the reproductive cycle of bacteria that often causes such food to spoil…Such a technology will also spare exporters the burden of costs they are forced to grapple with at country’s exit and entry points.” Prof. Busagala is also part of the advisory board of Africa Nuclear Business Platform (AFNBP) which is an energy meeting aiming to boost nuclear power in Africa.
African leaders from all the countries showing some interest in introducing nuclear in their energy mix will be attending AFNBP which is taking place the 15 & 16 October in Nairobi, Kenya. Mr. Simon Mdoe, Head Information Technology and Technical Services from the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission will be part of AFNBP as well to discuss nuclear energy in Tanzania so far.
For further information about Africa Nuclear Business Platform:
Author: Ibrahim Ababou (Global Account Manager), Nuclear Business Platform