Atomic Africa: Clean Energy’s Dirty Secrets

Africa’s development is being held back by its poor infrastructure and undersize power plants. Countries like Uganda can only produce only a quarter of the energy needed, leading to daily power cuts with disastrous impact on the economy. It’s a golden opportunity for companies like French nuclear giant, Areva, who lobby aggressively for more power plants in Africa. But how safe are these new reactors? And what do they mean for the local population?

Ever since the first reactor was built in Congo in 1958, there have been concerns about its safety. In 2007, the head of the research institute was arrested for illegally selling nuclear fuel rods. Today Congo remains dangerously unstable – but sees its future in atomic energy and is planning more power stations.

In Niger, the ‘Uranium Highway’ runs through rebel territory. A branch of Al-Qaida is operating in this area and transporting radioactive material has become even more dangerous since war broke out in neighbouring Mali in early 2013. Areva wants to open a new mine in the area but the opening has been delayed by three years because of Al-Qaida attacks.

New nuclear power plants in Africa also mean more uranium mining, contaminating the environment and endangering the local population. Radiation levels around some mines are dangerously high and there has been a sharp increase in birth deformities. Frequently, protesters like Golden Misabiko are thrown into jail or even murdered. We investigate the actions of the nuclear industry in Africa.

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Year: 2013 / DURATION: 52 MINS / DIRECTOR: Marcel Kolvenbach / PRODUCTION: A&O BUERO/ Country of Origin: Germany/ VERSION AVAILABLE: ENGlish, GERman

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