Uganda has intensified efforts to start generating atomic energy from five nuclear plants it plans to build in five districts scattered in the country’s four geographical regions.
The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
This is becomes the second MoU to be signed in a space of two years. In June 2017, Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development signed an MoU on nuclear energy cooperation with Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.
The MoU signed in Beijing on 10 May, by CNNC chairman Wang Shoujun and Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Eng. Irene Muloni, details areas of technical and engineering cooperation, as well as financial support to develop reactors for the nuclear plant.
This comes after a draft MoU between the Uganda and CNNC that was agreed upon in May 2017 following a visit of a delegation from Uganda led by Ms Prisca Boonabantu, the undersecretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, which visit followed that of Chinese officials to Kampala in March 2016.
Mr Shoujun highlighted the company’s capabilities in the application of nuclear technology and expressed willingness to share this with Uganda and added that use of nuclear technology would help Uganda raise its infrastructure capabilities and improve its people’s living standards.
While speaking at the MOU signing Ms Muloni said nuclear power development has been included in the country’s long-term energy development plan adding that: “The partnership with China in the area of nuclear energy development is for peaceful purposes and reveals the commitment of Uganda to have clean and safe nuclear energy generation sources.”
She said that CNNC’s capabilities in the nuclear and non-nuclear sectors were in line with Uganda’s industrial development needs and that the country was willing to conduct in-depth cooperation with the company.
Ms Muloni explained that Uganda’s Vision 2040 roadmap incorporated the development of nuclear energy as part of the country’s future energy mix.
“Plans have been made in Uganda to have clean and safe energy generation sources with nuclear being one of them and as a country we welcome partners to help construct, train and develop nuclear energy in line with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards,” said Ms Muloni.
The Energy ministry communications specialist, Mr Yusuf Masaba, told PML Daily that the MoU with China will enable the country develop reactors for the nuclear plant.
“The MOU is already done deal now, feasibility studies for the project have been done and the planned investments will be staggered over eight years so as government we are on the right course,”| said Mr Masaba.
The government plans to generate some 2,000mw of electricity by 2032 from nuclear plants to be constructed in five districts of Buyende, Mubende, Kiruhura, Lamwo and Nakasongola.
The Atomic energy Bill
Uganda’s Atomic Energy Bill came into effect in 2008, to regulate the use of ionising radiation and provide a framework to develop nuclear power generation. In October of that year, Uganda signed up to the IAEA’s Country Programme Framework, which provides a frame of reference for planning medium-term technical cooperation between an IAEA member state and the Agency, and identifies priority areas where the transfer of nuclear technology and technical cooperation resources will be directed to support national development goals.