Updated: 18 Nov 2019, 12:55 AM IST
- climate change has affected Africa’s conventional hydropower generation capacity
- As demand load is low, India’s pressurized heavy water reactor of 220MW unit size fits the bill
NEW DELHI : As part of India’s strategy to expand its footprint in Africa, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is exploring supply of small nuclear power reactors to electricity-starved countries.
Interestingly, India’s civilian nuclear power programme has caught the fancy of African countries because climate change has impacted their conventional hydropower generation capacity, which was primarily dependent on the Nile, the Niger, the Congo and the Zambezi river systems.
While hydropower generation has witnessed a decline leading to lower supply of electricity in African nations, India’s pressurized heavy water reactor’s (PHWR’s) unit size are well suited to meet their small demand load.
“Due to weather anomalies, the African countries can’t depend on hydropower generation to meet their growing electricity demand. Given that their demand load is small, our pressurized heavy water reactors of 220MW unit size fits the bill. The African countries are interested in these nuclear power reactors. These are initial feelers,” said a senior Indian government official, requesting anonymity.
The government’s move comes at a time when China has made major forays into Africa since 2004-05. In recent years, China has also tried to co-opt African countries into its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a programme to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects, including railways, ports and power grids, across Asia, Africa and Europe.
New Delhi is opposed to the BRI, which seeks to invest about $8 trillion in infrastructure projects across Asia, Europe and Africa, as it says the initiative lures countries into debt traps, and does not respect sovereignty or address environmental concerns.
India’s strategy is to negate the growing influence of strategic rival China in the region. New Delhi has also extended a $10-billion concessional line of credit (LOC) for the African continent.