Algeria dreams of nuclear energy
By Nazim Fethi for Magharebia in Algiers - 10/03/05
On Saturday (1 October) in Algiers, Minister for Energy and Mining Chakib Khelil said a new law will "set out the development and use of nuclear energy in the various areas of activity".
With the world demand for energy growing and the rise in the price of uranium from $15 a kilo to $80 a kilo in the space of four years, there exists "a situation conducive to starting to consider the development of nuclear energy in Algeria", according to the minister.
Algeria "has reasonable uranium resources and the possibilities of finding more exist", pointed out Khelil. He notes that since the 1970s, Algeria has been known to have the same type of uranium deposits found in Canada, which are geologically exceptional due to composition and tonnage.
“the prospects for development of the uranium sector in Algeria are considerable”
Around 30,000 tonnes of uranium, located in four main deposits situated below the Tamanrasset region, are thought to exist in Algeria. According to Khelil, "making the most of these resources within a strictly mining context in a global market dominated by a small number of producers is economically inconceivable".
This development can only take place as "an integrated development of the whole nuclear sector and its principle applications -- such as water desalination, industry, agriculture, medicine and above all, nuclear power generation".
Presently, 16 per cent of electricity produced worldwide is from nuclear sources, though the figure is 70 per cent in some nations. Khelil states that the development of nuclear energy, which will only really start to take effect in ten years to 15 years, must be carried out "in partnership with countries which have experience in this domain".
In his presentation, the director general of the Office for Geological and Mining Resources, M.Mohamed Tahar Bouaroudj indicated that , particularly in the Hoggar and Tindouf regions.
However, no figures exist yet to indicate the level of reserves still to be found. The production and exploitation of uranium are open to all national or foreign operators because current Algerian mining laws do not impose any particular restrictions or recognize the strategic importance of the resource.
Algeria, which has nuclear reactors in Algiers and Ain-Oussera, hopes to use the facilities to develop nuclear energy, particularly for its electricity needs.
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