Nuclear energy in Africa investigated on Special Assignment

Illegal uranium mining - DRCSpecial Assignment has announced the airing of Atomic Africa, an internationally produced documentary by Java Films, which investigates whether nuclear energy is an appropriate response to the continent’s energy crisis.

The documentary looks at Uganda, Tanzania, the DRC and Niger as case studies.

Companies like French nuclear giant, Areva, lobby aggressively for nuclear power plants in Africa. But how safe are these plants and how will they impact the local population and the environment?

Though the Congo is politically unstable, its government sees atomic energy as the answer to its power shortages and is planning more nuclear stations. In Niger, the Uranium Highway runs through rebel territory. A branch of Al-Qaida is operating in this area. Transporting radioactive material has become increasingly dangerous since war broke out in neighbouring Mali in early 2013.

New nuclear power plants in Africa means more uranium mining which contaminates the environment and endangers the local population. Also they provide the infrastructure to build ‘dirty bombs’ in politically unstable regions.

Radiation levels around some mines are dangerously high. Activists like Golden Misabiko, who contest nuclear energy, are often thrown into jail, live in exile or, in extreme cases, are murdered.

Watch Atomic Africa produced by Java Films, on Special Assignment on Sunday, 24 May at 20:30 on SABC3.

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