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Proposed nuclear waste plant sparks off row

By Nicholas Kajoba

Added 23rd April 2018 05:23 PM

Nama sub-county, Councilor, Hakim Senfuka said residents should be consulted before the implementation of the project.

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Kibule and atomic energy boss, Luwalira address residents of Nama. PHOTOS: Nicholas Kajoba

Nama sub-county, Councilor, Hakim Senfuka said residents should be consulted before the implementation of the project.

The government's proposal to construct a nuclear and atomic waste site in Kitoba, Nama sub-county, Mukono district has sparked off a row.

Over 100 Residents have petitioned the area Member of Parliament who also doubles as state minister for water, Ronald Kibule to intervene saying that the construction of an atomic waste plant is poisonous and dangerous to their lives. Kibule promised to meet the President and ministry officials in order to resolve their grievances amicably.

"I will forward your complain to President Museveni and even meet the ministry officials concerned in order to resolve the impasse that has sprung," Kibule said.

Nama sub-county, Councilor, Hakim Senfuka said residents should be consulted before the implementation of the project.

Diana Ahumuza, a resident of Canaan Sites estates (Kitoba village), alleged that the project had already kicked off and implementation is in the final stages.

 Atomic Energy Council Chief Executive officer, Luwalira (r) shows residents the Atomic Energy Agency master plan for the project 

“They have already brought here a container at the site, which we believe as residents that there’s ongoing work. We want to be assured that we are safe before the project kicks off,” she said.

Another resident Slyvia Kyobe advised the project implementers to sensitise people about the proposed nuclear atomic waste project.

“The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) needs to talk to residents of the area about the merits and demerits of the proposed project. Most of them are wary because they haven’t got enough information about the intended project,” she said.

Mukono district council chaired by its speaker, Emanuel Bonye had recently halted the implemention of the project saying that the council needed to evaluate properly the project plans before it okays it.

However, in meeting held with AEC officials, led by its Chief Executive Officer, Deogratious Luwalira in Mukono town on Wednesday, district councilors agreed to rescind their earlier decision to  halt the project.

“The district council passed a resolution of halting the project. But we did it because we were not informed, but after getting all the facts about the project, we believe the construction plans can go on. There’s also a need to talk to residents of the area where the site is located,” Andrew Ssenyonga, the district chairperson said.

 Nuclear atomic waste plant

Ssenyonga appealed to residents and councilors to allow the government project to be implemented although safety measures should be put in place.

About the project

Uganda Atomic Energy Council (AEC) was formed by an act of parliament with mandates to conduct inspections to assess radiation safety and security conditions.  Atomic Executive Council (AEC) executive secretary Deogratious Luwalira, said that government acquired 11.5 acres of land in 2011 in Kitoba village, Nama sub-county to implement a five year master plan.

The master plan includes, building AEC headquarters, staff accommodation, laboratories, atomic/nuclear storage facility, and sports field. He said the environment impact assessment and geotechnical study for the site is on-going.

“We have met council leaders and residents of the area, and assured them that the Atomic energy waste store will have no effects on human beings because its  handled properly and professionally,” Luwalira said. He said that radioactive wastes is scatted in different parts and there was need to put them in one central location.

AEC is working with government agencies such as the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema), the Ministry of Health, Uganda police force and the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure that the project is handled properly.

Uganda has already trained 15 nuclear Atomic experts headed by Sarah Nafuna in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
President Yoweri Museveni met recently the director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano at the state house, Entebbe.

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