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Africa’s Development Requires Twenty-Fold Increase in Electricity, 7,000 New Nuclear Power Plants

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EIRNS—To fight the death threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic and famine, as well as to develop its future, Africa requires a twenty-fold increase in in its net electricity-generating capacity — the power equivalent to the building of 7,000 new nuclear power plants — preliminary work by the LaRouche Economic Task Force has found.

This electricity would not only be necessary to power hospitals, but also to run the economy as a whole: water purification plants and irrigation, manufacturing plants, high-speed rail systems, homes and apartments, etc.

The populations of Africa’s 54 nations consumed, collectively, in 2017, 683 billion kwh of electricity annually. For a continent of 1.2 billion people, this is gravely insufficient. The Task Force used the United States’ per-capita electricity consumption annually as a provisional standard. Remember, this means the electricity used for the total U.S. economy—manufacturing, agriculture, housing, etc.—expressed per person. To reach that working standard, Africa would require raising electricity consumption to 14,450 billion kwh annually, for all purposes of the economy, an increase in of an additional 13,770 billion kwh, or a twenty-fold increase.

To meet that standard for Africa using primarily nuclear power, it would require the construction of 1,400 new 1000 MW nuclear power plants, joined by 5,600 new 60 MW small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs); a total of 7,000 nuclear plants. The 1000 MW plants would be sited in cities and large urban areas; the SMRs would be situated where energy need is less geographically intense. This power equivalent could be produced also by a combination of nuclear power, hydroelectric power, and gas- and coal-fired plants.

Because nuclear plants take 5-7 years to build and install, the construction of a string of gas-fired plants, with a 150- to 500-MW capacity, should be started immediately, with construction times of 12-24 months, with abundant gas supplies on the continent itself. Russia should float 60 MW SMRs to Africa as quickly as it can produce them. At the same time, there must be an eye toward Africa participating in the construction of nuclear plants, hydroelectric dams and gas-fired plants; ultimately, African nations should be able to produce them themselves. This is a critical part of the LaRouche plan to create 1.5 billion new, productive jobs. [ref]