Nuclear energy in Africa : a legal framework for sustainable energy access
The promotion of sustainable development is an objective shared by African Union (AU) member states and the pursuance thereof is expressly mandated by the Constitutive Act of the African Union, 2000 and the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community, 1992. Lack of access to modern energy sources, such as electricity and the heavy reliance on traditional biomass as primary energy source are factors contributing to the non-achievement of the promotion of sustainable development. These factors are collectively referred to as energy poverty. The African Continent as a whole has limited, and in some instances, lack access to modern energy sources while the majority of its population relies heavily on traditional biomass as primary energy source. Africa can accordingly be classified as an energy poor region–a situation which does not bode well for the promotion of sustainable development. Access to reliable, affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound energy services and resources is fundamental to socio-economic development. Mitigating the impacts of energy poverty and more specifically lack of access to modern energy sources on the sustainable development of Africa depends upon ensuring increased access to modern energy sources. The above-mentioned instruments furthermore contain provisions which link regional cooperation on the formulation of coordinated regional law and policy on areas/matters of common concern with the achievement of the objective of promoting sustainable development in Africa. One of the areas of common concerns listed is that of energy. Regional cooperation must accordingly be geared towards the effective development of the continent‘s energy and natural resources; promoting the development of new and renewable energy in the framework of the policy of diversification of sources of energy; and establishing an adequate mechanism of concerted action and coordination for the collective solution of the energy development problems within the AU. The formulation of coordinated energy law and policy should take place with reference to the specific sources of energy to be regulated. In this regard, the provisions of the Abuja Treaty and other sub-regional energy access initiatives list various sources of energy as forming part of a diversified AU energy mix – one of which is nuclear energy. In this study recommendations are made as to what should be embodied in a coordinated AU regional nuclear legal framework aimed at regulating increased access to nuclear energy capable of contributing towards the promotion of sustainable development. The recommendations are based on an examination of relevant international, regional and sub-regional legal instruments and other initiatives.
- Law 
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