Moscow will help the North African country to create and improve nuclear energy infrastructures

Marruecos y Rusia cooperarán en materia nuclear

AP/AKSANA MANCHUK - Image of the interior of a nuclear power plant of the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom

The Russian government has approved a cooperation agreement with Morocco in the field of peaceful atomic energy, Russian news agency TASS reports. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed the corresponding order enabling the partnership between the two countries.

The document detailing the agreement - presented by the state atomic energy company Rosatom - highlights the interest of the Russian Foreign Ministry and 'other federal executive authorities that have previously worked with Morocco for peaceful purposes'. 

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Morocco and Russia will collaborate in at least 14 areas. Through this partnership, Moscow will help the North African country create and improve nuclear energy infrastructure, as well as water desalination plants and elementary particle accelerators.

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Russia will also contribute to the design and construction of nuclear reactors and share its expertise in the field of fuel cycle, spent nuclear fuel and waste management. Rosatom will also work with the Moroccan authorities in the exploration of uranium deposits, in the training of personnel for nuclear power plants and in the training of employees of the state body responsible for regulating nuclear and radiological safety, the National Centre for Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology (CNESTEN).

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This new agreement demonstrates Morocco's interest in developing the nuclear sector. The Kingdom has also recently entered into a partnership with Israel in this field. As announced by the Director General of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), Moshe Edri, the two countries 'are ready' to work in this field following the normalisation of bilateral relations.

Morocco currently has only one nuclear research centre located in Mâamora. The infrastructure, although it does not produce electricity, allows for the production of radionuclides, which are used for cancer therapies or in the fight against foot-and-mouth disease. However, during the decade 2009-2019, Morocco was ranked by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as "the first country on the African scale in terms of contribution to South-South cooperation through the provision of experts", according to Jeune Afrique.

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In this regard, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi travelled to the kingdom last June to strengthen the agency's collaboration with Morocco, visit nuclear facilities and radiotherapy centres and meet with the political authorities. "Morocco is a key player in Africa for the transfer of experience, skills and technology for sustainable development. The IAEA supports Morocco's efforts to promote nuclear science for a safer, healthier and fairer world," Grossi said in a meeting with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

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"Morocco is a strong supporter of promoting nuclear science in Africa and will continue to be a major player in addressing access to cancer care and responding to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases on the continent," he added.

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