China agrees deal for Sudan’s first nuclear reactor; a step in its grand ‘One Belt, One Road’ plan

Another Chinese firm is also aiming for its own project in nearby Kenya, as Asian giant pushes forward with ambition to export its technology.

CHINA National Nuclear Corp. agreed with Sudan to build the African nation’s first atomic reactor, China’s latest effort to expand its nuclear technology footprint abroad.

A framework agreement between the two countries was signed Monday during a three-day visit to Sudan by Nur Bekri, director of China’s National Energy Administration, according to Xinhua News Agency. 

CNNC also signed a cooperation agreement with Sudan’s Ministry of Water Resources and Electricity, according to the People’ Daily.

China is seeking wider acceptance for its atomic technology and expertise amid a global call for cleaner energy. The country plans to export about 30 homegrown nuclear units by 2030, CNNC Chairman Sun Qin said in March, according to China Daily.

“The agreement is a step forward for China’s grand ‘One Belt, One Road’ plan to export technology, including nuclear power and high-speed railway technologies, to African and European nations,” Shi Yan, a Shanghai-based analyst at UOB-Kay Hian, said by phone. 

“China can provide both technological and financial support for developing nuclear power projects.”

CNNC has plans to build reactors in Argentina and Pakistan, while China General Nuclear Power Corp. is aiming for its own project in Kenya. CGN and Electricite de France SA signed an accord in October to build three reactors in the U.K., including the Hinkley Point plant in southwest England and a Chinese-developed reactor at Bradwell.

Sudan aims to begin building its first nuclear reactor in 2021 and start commercial operations by 2027, according to a government presentation last year for the International Atomic Energy Agency. The country is seeking to build two 600-megawatt pressurized water reactors, it said in the presentation.

With its current power capacity of roughly 3,025 megawatts, nuclear power will help it meet demand that is expected to swell to 8,500 megawatts by 2031, it said.

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