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[PODCAST] Africa’s vital role in China’s drive to triple nuclear energy output

[PODCAST] Africa’s vital role in China’s drive to triple nuclear energy output

China is pursuing an ambitious plan to triple its nuclear energy output by 2020, from 2% of the country’s total energy supply to 6%. Beijing’s nuclear power agenda is part of the government’s broader agenda to reduce carbon emissions that is contributing to staggeringly high-levels of pollution in many of China’s largest cities. To do so, the Chinese have embarked on a nuclear reactor building spree with some 20 new plants currently in development.

If China is going to rely more on nuclear power as part of its renewable energy strategy then it is also going to have to find a reliable supply of uranium to power all of these new reactors. Not surprisingly, Chinese energy officials have set their sights on Africa, specifically two of the world’s largest sources of uranium in Niger and Namibia.

Until now there has been relatively little research done on the impact that Chinese investment is having in Niger and Namibia’s uranium mining sectors. Harvard doctoral student Peter Volberding and Dr. Jason Warner recently published a paper on the issue that examines whether the massive Chinese investments are potentially eroding sovereignty in these two African countries? Peter joins Eric & Cobus to discuss why there is not a simple answer to this complex question.

Shownotes:

About Peter Volberding

Political science doctoral candidate at Harvard University with specific expertise in Chinese foreign policy, international relations, and international economic development. More specifically interested in the evolving roles and activities of national development banks (NDBs)–particularly in Germany, Brazil, and China–in the post WWII international economy, as well as the increasing use of financial instruments in development.

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About Eric Olander

Eric Olander is the founder and Editor in Chief of The China Africa Project. Eric is a veteran international journalist with 20+ years experience throughout Greater China, Africa, the United States and Europe. Eric is currently based in Southeast Asia where he is the senior news executive with a leading 24-hour all business news cable TV network.