Keywords: nuclear desalination, water resources, energy resources, CNESTEN, Morocco, nuclear energy, seawater desalination
Prospects of nuclear desalination in Morocco
In the last few years, Morocco has faced a continuous series of dry seasons, which has put a great stress on its limited water resources. Hence, for some time now Morocco has been considering desalinating seawater to supply fresh water to some areas. In the early 1980's, due to limited energy resources, Morocco was obliged to consider other alternatives to meet its energy demands. A feasibility study for the introduction of a nuclear power plant into the national electrical grid was launched. Even though the study showed that the commercially proven, large size reactors could not be integrated into the grid due to their limited capacity, the national electrical utility continues to pursue its efforts to introduce nuclear energy into the country. Presently, the feasibility study is being updated and a bid invitation specification is being prepared with the help of the IAEA experts. In response to the increasing need for energy and water, Morocco and some North African countries participated in the IAEA regional project on the feasibility study on using nuclear energy for seawater desalination. Subsequently, Morocco carried out a feasibility study for the construction of a demonstration plant for seawater desalination using a 10 MW Nuclear Heating Reactor with China and IAEA. As part of its interest in nuclear energy, Morocco is setting up the nuclear infrastructure that could help in the implementation of the nuclear power programme. The construction of a nuclear research centre which is to be commissioned in a couple of years, and the establishment of the nuclear safety authority and the radiation protection authority are part of the programme.