Russia to Build Nuclear Plant in Burkina Faso 

by Victor Adetimilehin

Burkina Faso’s military junta has signed a deal with Russia to construct a nuclear power plant in the West African country. The agreement was reached after talks between Ibrahim Traore, the leader of the coup that ousted President Roch Kabore last month, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

The deal is worth $20 billion and will see Russia provide Burkina Faso with a 1,200-megawatt nuclear reactor, as well as training and technical support. The plant is expected to boost the country’s electricity supply, which is currently plagued by frequent blackouts and reliance on expensive diesel generators.

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita income of $790 and a human development index ranking of 182 out of 189 countries. The country has been struggling with political instability, terrorism, and ethnic violence for years. The coup that toppled Kabore was the third in the country’s history since it gained independence from France in 1960.

The nuclear deal with Russia is seen as a strategic move by Traore to secure his grip on power and gain international recognition. Russia has been expanding its influence and presence in Africa, offering military and economic assistance to several countries, such as Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Central African Republic. Russia has also been involved in mediating conflicts and supporting peace efforts in Libya, Mali, and Mozambique.

However, the deal has also raised concerns among some analysts and activists, who fear that it could pose environmental and security risks for Burkina Faso and the region. They argue that the country lacks the infrastructure, expertise, and regulatory framework to safely operate a nuclear plant. They also warn that the plant could become a target for terrorist groups or rogue elements within the military.

The deal also comes at a time when the international community is urging Traore to restore democracy and hold free and fair elections as soon as possible. The African Union has suspended Burkina Faso from its membership and imposed sanctions on the junta leaders. The United States, the European Union, and France have also condemned the coup and called for a swift return to civilian rule.

Despite the challenges and uncertainties, some observers hope that the nuclear deal could bring some benefits for Burkina Faso and its people. They say that the plant could help diversify the country’s energy sources, reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, lower its carbon emissions, and create jobs and opportunities for its young population.

Source: [TheCable]

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