Nuclear energy in Morocco: The International Atomic Energy Agency on a prospecting mission

Nuclear energy in Morocco: The International Atomic Energy Agency on a prospecting mission

Nuclear energy in Morocco: The International Atomic Energy Agency on a prospecting mission in October. During a visit to Nairobi, Kenya, on 24 August, Anne Starz, senior advisor for policy and strategy at the IAEA Department of Energy, said that a number of African countries, including Morocco, had expressed “their interest in the development of nuclear energy. A prospecting mission to assess the infrastructure needed to build the nuclear energy program, called INIR (Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review), will be deployed this autumn in the kingdom”.

A “complete examination”

“All INIR missions for 2015 have been requested by African Member States,” said the advisor. “We conducted a Phase 1 mission to Nigeria in June, we are on mission here in Kenya starting today, and we will have a scheduled Phase 1 mission to Morocco in October,” she said. “This mission aims at enabling the host country to obtain a comprehensive review of all facets of its nuclear program, which will involve all relevant government actors, and help ensure that the necessary infrastructure is developed in an integrated manner.”

The mission will be led by an IAEA team and international experts in the development of nuclear infrastructure. The team will also make recommendations and identify the issues that (the host country) might encounter before making a thoughtful decision about the introduction of nuclear energy.

In December 2014, the National Center for Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology (CNESTEN), attached to the Ministry, announced at a meeting in Rabat, the establishment of a training center in nuclear science and technology planned for 2015, and that of the Moroccan Agency for Nuclear and Radiological Security, in charge of monitoring the operation of nuclear facilities in accordance with IAEA standards.


Nuclear power by 2030?


In February, the Minister of Energy and Mines, Abdelkader Amara declared that Morocco had “no short-term project”, but that the option “remain open” and that a nuclear power project could take about fifteen years. “Shortly, a text on a future Nuclear Safety Agency will be debated in Parliament, these are the necessary prerequisites,” he explained.

Today, Morocco has a single nuclear reactor of 2MW, located in the center of Maâmora, between Salé and Kenitra. Opened in 2003, the center is currently dedicated to research. A team in charge of the development of nuclear medicine is on the spot.

Morocco, which is active to reduce its energy dependence, is ready to invest heavily in energy. By 2020, 200 billion dirhams (21 Billion USD)  should be invested in the sector, largely in electricity and renewable energies.

Nuclear power plants, which produce large amounts of electricity without emitting CO2, appear as an alternative to replace hydrocarbons. In addition to electricity, nuclear power could be used to desalt seawater at a time when Morocco is at risk of “water stress” and could run out of water by 2040.


Note: CNESTEN (National Energy Center for Nuclear Science and Technology)

CNESTEN is a public institution founded in 1986 with a legal and financial autonomy and operating under the supervision of the Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment. The CNESTEN is controlled by a board who takes two sessions per year.


According to his missions, CNESTEN developed three vocations concerning the research, the technical support and services related to the nuclear sciences and technology.

The CNESTEN main missions deal to:

  • Develop and promote nuclear research and their applications in socio-economic sectors
  • Contribute into the national Nuclear Power Plant program
  • Support the authorities in the nuclear safety and security programs
  • Collect and manage the radioactive waste material


On 2010, CNESTEN established a strategic plan concerning the period 2011-2015.

The main objectives of this plan highlight with the development of add value of the infrastructures of Maamora Nuclear Center.

CNESTEN has also an ambition to be a regional Center for research, training and expertise opened to the African and Arabic countries.

Main Activity domains:

  • Energy
  • Health
  • Industry
  • Water
  • Agriculture
  • Environment
  • Mine and Geology
  • Material Sciences
  • Safety  and security

Partnership and networks:

  • Universities and Research institutions
  • Economical operators
  • Non-Governmental Organisations
  • International Cooperation (IAEA, USA, France, …)


Contact person:

Bouchra Belhorma



R.P. 10001 – Rabat


Phone : +212 (0) 5 37 81 97 50

Fax : +212 (0) 5 37 80 32 77

About Author

Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.