China in ‘preliminary’ deal for Sudan’s first atomic plant

KHARTOUM, May 24 — A Chinese state-owned company has signed a “preliminary” deal with Sudan to build the east African country’s first nuclear power plant, an official in Khartoum said today.

The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) signed a memorandum of understanding with the electricity ministry yesterday to build nuclear reactors that would help to generate electricity.

“The agreement will allow Sudan to build in the future a nuclear plant to generate nuclear energy for peaceful use,” ministry spokesman Mohamed Abdelrahim Jawish told AFP.

“This preliminary agreement was signed yesterday and we are now talking of capacities,” he added.

In 2012, Sudan informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of its intention to pursue nuclear technology amid an increased demand for electricity from the country’s growing population.

The deal with CNNC was a result of President Omar al-Bashir’s visit to China last year, when he signed a strategic cooperation agreement, officials said.

Sudan’s current annual power generation capacity is about 3,000 megawatts, but demand is expected to rise significantly over the next few years.

Chinese state-owned energy companies have been seeking to promote home-grown nuclear technology and to strike energy deals worldwide.

CNNC is already working with Argentina to build the South American country’s fourth and fifth nuclear reactors.

The Chinese corporation’s deals are in line with President Xi Jinping’s aggressive foreign policy initiatives that include promoting home-grown technologies abroad. ― AFP