KAMPALA, Uganda–The Government of Uganda has started talks with the Russian Federation to forge away forward that could see Uganda take the next steps towards nuclear power development.
The co-operation between the two countries seeks to position Uganda in gaining expertise and technology from Russia as well as promoting the co-operation between Russia and Uganda in nuclear power. These became the central issues of discussion when the two nations in a meeting held in Kampala.
The Russian delegation from Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation which was led by Viktor Polikarpov Rosatom’s Regional, Vice-President for Sub-Saharan Africa met with President Yoweri Museveni and officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
In the meeting, President Museveni supported the development of nuclear power in the near future but emphasized the importance of professional training of local staff in this sphere.
Possible areas of cooperation determined include nuclear infrastructure development, staff training, public acceptance, nuclear medicine and agriculture.
The Ugandan party expressed interest in Russian nuclear technologies and Rosatom’s proposals regarding NPP construction.
At the meeting both parties confirmed a willingness to start cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear power and to sign the Framework Memorandum of Understanding between Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development of Uganda.
In 2002, the Parliament of Uganda approved the principles and areas of the peaceful use of nuclear power and in 2008 passed the Atomic Energy Act establishing the Atomic Energy Council, the national regulator, and the Nuclear Energy Unit forming part of the Ministry of Energy.
In line with the Uganda National Development Plan, under Vision 2040, Uganda intends to use its uranium reserves to generate electricity using nuclear power stations.
Officials have noted that by 2035, Uganda will need to generate capacity totaling up to 40 GW and this can be realized easily through nuclear power.
It is reported that the Government of Uganda is in preparations to build the country’s first Nuclear Power Plant which is expected to come forth by 2034.
Rosatom view Africa as the final frontier, it is the last booming economy, and it is currently the fastest growing economy in the world, with a regional growth of 5.7% per annum. But like any growing economy, Africa is not without its problems and is currently facing a number of challenges. Arguably, the biggest of these challenges is electricity.
It is reported that only quarter of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population have access to electricity. This means that about 600 million people are living with limited or no access to a reliable supply of electricity.
In order for Africa to continue and even increase its current growth potential, it needs a reliable and affordable source of base load power to stimulate industrial activities and bolster economic growth and nuclear power could be a better option.
Rosatom believes nuclear power is a environmentally-friendly, safe, reliable and cheap method of producing base load power.
Rosatom actively interacts with a number of African countries which have shown interest in nuclear power, including Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Kenya.