TOP
Friday,December 04,2020 01:09 AM

President Museveni halts uranium deals

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th July 2007 03:00 AM

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has ordered the ministry of energy to halt any deals for the exploitation of uranium. He also instructed for the setting up of an atomic energy unit within the ministry.

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has ordered the ministry of energy to halt any deals for the exploitation of uranium. He also instructed for the setting up of an atomic energy unit within the ministry.

By Henry Mukasa

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has ordered the ministry of energy to halt any deals for the exploitation of uranium. He also instructed for the setting up of an atomic energy unit within the ministry.

The directives are contained in the resolutions passed at the end of a five-day retreat of NRM MPs at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi.

The retreat called for “the development of a nationalistic oil, gas and mineral policy and use their revenues for the present and future generations,” according to a press statement by the party Secretary General, Amama Mbabazi.

“In this regard, the President directed that the energy ministry halts giving out concessions for the exploitation of the
newly found uranium deposits in the country. He further directed the energy ministry to establish a nuclear unit in the ministry.”

Uranium, used for nuclear reactors and bombs, was first discovered in Uganda in 2004. A recent report by the ministry of energy estimates the uranium-rich areas to be 18,000 km2 in Buganda-Toro region, 12,000 km2 in Karagwe-Ankole area, 5,000 km2 between Lake Albert and Lake Kyoga, 5,000 km2 around Lake Edward, 900 km2 on the Buhwezu plateau and 12,000 km2 in Lake Albert.

According to the energy ministry, only a minority of these sites have been given out as concessions so far to local and foreign companies.

“The drive for uranium has only started now,” said Sam Byamugisha, the deputy commissioner of the department of geology and mines.

“The Internal Atomic Energy Agency had put a limitation on nuclear energy. But the need for energy has been rising as of late, particularly with China coming up.”

New sites of uranium are still being discovered in Uganda, he said, citing Kiboga district as one of the new areas.
“An airborne survey is being carried out at the moment, which will be able to show more potential areas for uranium.”

Asked if Uganda would go ahead with building a nuclear reactor, he said the establishment of an atomic energy unit in the ministry of energy was aimed at studying the possibilities of nuclear energy and its impact on the environment, public health and safety.

Uranium is a controversial mineral ever since it was used in ‘Little Boy’, the first atomic bomb ever detonated, which was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 by the US air force. It killed about 140,000 people.

The disposal of nuclear waste, some of which can remain radio-active for 100,000 years, is a major concern for countries that use nuclear energy.

The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management in 2005 recommended waste be either buried underground in an area of suitable geology, where the rocks act as a protective chamber, or stored temporarily in facilities above the surface outside the biosphere until a more permanent solution has been found.

The risk of radio-active leaks is high, particularly in countries that are prone to earthquakes. Nuclear power officials in Japan on Tuesday admitted that the world’s largest nuclear power plant had suffered at least 50 malfunctions, including burst pipes, water leaks and radioactive waste spillage, when it was hit by Monday’s earthquake, which had a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale.

Besides the resolution on uranium, the NRM retreat also agreed on a law to empower the Government to fund political parties and organisations.

Other resolutions passed, according to a press release, included the establishment of a national leadership institute in every region of the country, a review of Uganda’s population policy, a review of the programmes of NAADS, the fast-tracking of the East-African political federation and the integration of Africa through regional blocs.

President Museveni halts uranium deals

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author