Rwanda signs agreement to build test nuclear power reactor

KIGALI (Reuters) – Rwanda will build a test nuclear reactor using a novel technology under an agreement between the East African country and a Canadian-German company called Dual Fluid Energy Inc,

Rwanda’s atomic energy regulator said on Tuesday.

The reactor will use an innovative technique developed by the startup company using liquid fuel and lead coolant, resulting in less radioactive waste, the Rwanda Atomic Energy Board said in a statement.

The demonstration reactor is expected to be operational by 2026 and the subsequent testing of the Dual Fluid technology is to be completed by 2028. The test phase will cost 70 million euros ($75 million), to be financed by the company, Dual Fluid CEO Goetz Ruprecht told a news conference in Kigali.

At present Rwanda has an installed electricity generation capacity of 332.6 megawatts(MW), most of which is from hydropower dams and the rest from methane, solar and peat.

In Africa, only South Africa at present has an operational nuclear power plant, while Russia’s state-owned energy corporation Rosatom last year started construction of Egypt’s first nuclear plant.

In March, Uganda said it expected to start generating at least 1,000 MW from nuclear power by 2031.

The Rwanda Atomic Energy Board said it and Dual Fluid had agreed on a road map for the implementation of the test reactor after the tests are complete.

Once success criteria are achieved, both parties will proceed with next technological readiness levels including testing of the nuclear power plant design, construction and operations based on the experiment results, it said.

($1 = 0.9335 euros)

(Reporting by Philbert Girinema; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by David Holmes)