Uganda signs agreement with China on nuclear energy

May 25, 2018

Nuclear power plants can produce large quantities of electrical power cheaply.

PIC: China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) chairman Wang Shoujun and energy minister Eng. Irene Muloni. Looking on is Dr Crispus Kiyonga, Uganda's ambassador to China. (Courtesy photo)
KAMPALA - Uganda has moved steps in developing its use of nuclear by engaging experts from China as nuclear energy can enable rapid industrialisation.
Nuclear power plants can produce large quantities of electrical power cheaply.
Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy as the country targets to produce 2,000 megawatts of power from nuclear power plants within 10-15 years.
The memorandum was signed in Beijing on Wednesday by Uganda's Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Eng. Irene Muloni and CNNC Chairman Wang Shoujun. Present was Uganda's ambassador to China Dr Crispus Kiyonga.
A statement from the ministry of energy said that during the function Muloni emphasised that a nuclear power development is part of the country's long-term energy development plan.
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.
At the meeting, Shoujun gave a presentation on the history of CNNC, the nuclear supply chain, the construction of the demonstration Hualong One units and the development of overseas markets.
Shoujun highlighted the company's capabilities in the application of nuclear technology and expressed willingness to share this with Uganda.
He said the use of nuclear technology would help Uganda raise its infrastructure capabilities and improve its people's living standards.
The text of a draft MoU between the Uganda and CNNC was agreed upon during a May 2017 visit of a delegation from Uganda led by Prisca Boonabantu, undersecretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
That visit followed a visit of Chinese officials to Kampala in March 2016.
During last year's visit, Boonabantu noted 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," she said.
The country, she added, welcomes partners to help construct, train and develop nuclear energy in line with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards.
In June 2017, Uganda's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development signed an MoU on nuclear energy cooperation with Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.
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.
Uganda has favorable geology that hosts a variety of mineral resources including uranium that can be used to produce nuclear energy.
Eng. Michael Kiiza programme manager East Africa Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency recently said many countries such as France have nuclear power plants but do not have uranium deposits or similar minerals and they import them.
Kiiza said any country with a technical and human resource capacity can develop a nuclear power plant which produces clean energy.
He said it can take a long time, and big capital investments to mine uranium, process it, build power plants.
President Yoweri Museveni has spoken out against exporting uranium in its raw form, insisting on exploiting it to make up for the country's energy deficit.
Uganda has over 30 uranium targets countrywide and 10 have been prioritized for development.



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