|Fig. 1: Niger in Africa (Source: Wikimedia Commons)|
According to Park, 635 million people in Africa, which equates to 57% of the population, still do not have access to electricity.  There are also a handful countries, where less than 10% of the population has access to electricity. Although access to electricity is growing in certain countries, it is still doesn't show any signs of catching up with the rest of the world. Niger, located in the north-western part of Africa (Fig. 1), is among the lowest ranked countries in population access to electricity yet provides about 8% of the Uranium put into use in the rest of the world, as depicted on Fig. 1. 
Considering the fact that 83% of the population in Niger still doesnt have access to electricity, the need for a new source of power is obvious. Currently, Niger has the worlds highest birth rate and the population will triple in 2050.  The energy needs will at least grow by a similar or even higher rates and the only sustainable energy source that could satisfy those needs in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way is nuclear energy. 
Despite the desperate need to develop nuclear energy in Niger however, there are numerous criticisms worldwide about developing nuclear energy in African nations, one of them being issue of safety and security.  However, most of the critics generalize when it comes to issues pertaining to African nations and therefore, most criticisms dont apply to Niger since Niger has been politically stable for the past 7-8 years. Fig.1 shows a completed nuclear power plant
In addition to the issue of safety and security, cost is also another source of concern. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Developments Nuclear Energy Agency calculated the cost of construction of a 1GW nuclear plant to be about 4 billion dollars.  Considering that this cost would be about 1/4th of Nigers GDP (~20 billion), the project is feasible over a couple of years. Moreover, Nigers cost post construction will be extremely low compared to other nations, because of the Uranium deposits in the country.
© Asrat Alemu. The author warrants that the work is the author's own and that Stanford University provided no input other than typesetting and referencing guidelines. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.
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