Experts from several African countries are in Uganda to discuss how to safely apply nuclear in agriculture, energy generation and medication. The meeting in Kampala is also attended by experts from International Atomic Energy Agency( IAEA), which supports safe and peaceful use of nuclear technology.
The mention raises fear about nuclear weapons and threats to the environment but some participants at a meeting hosted by Uganda insist that the nuclear once safely applied can be used to address a range of problems especially energy.
Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda while opening the meeting in Kampala said Uganda is committed to applying nuclear only for safe applications.
There are fears that Uganda could be preparing itself for nuclear weapons but Dr. Rugunda and Minister of Energy and Mineral development, Irene Muloni insists that country plans to harness its uranium for safe and peaceful use.
Engineer Irene Muloni told journalists outside the conference hall in Munyonyo that apprehension that has existed whenever nuclear is mentioned should not deter countries that intend to use in peaceful applications. The Ministry of Energy plans to utilize uranium presence in the country for power generation.
The government’s Nuclear Power Roadmap Development Strategy adopted by cabinet envisages to have 2000 Megawatts of electricity 2031.
AF-Consult Switzerland estimates that Uganda would spend 744.8 trillion Shillings in capital and operating costs if it is to generate 30,000 Megawatts from nuclear as outlined in the Uganda Vision 2040.
But Irene Muloni was non-committal when asked about the cost related to adopting nuclear energy in Energy. She however noted that a number of countries are exploring the adoption of nuclear especially for power generation.
She says Uganda is cooperating with countries like Russia, South Korea, China and agencies like International Atomic Energy Agency on how to acquire technology for safe and peaceful application of nuclear.
Nuclear-related activities are regulated under the Atomic Energy Act 2008 The Act provides a framework for use of ionizing radiation and provide a framework to develop nuclear power generation.
Uganda is part of 39-Member the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA)
Countries Africa region in 1988 requested the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to help them to establish a regional arrangement for cooperation in the field of nuclear science and technology, similar to arrangements already existing in Asia and Latin America.
AFRA aims to maximize the utilization of available infrastructure and expertise in Africa in the field of nuclear science and technology and to accelerate regional self-sufficiency in the peaceful applications of nuclear techniques.
The meeting being hosted by Uganda this week is a follow up to one held in Egypt. It is expected that experts at the will agree on strategies of enlarging the contribution of nuclear science and technology to social welfare, health, energy using Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC).