Uganda nuclear project ambition gets another boost
- Written by URN
Uganda's nuclear energy ambitions have further been boosted by the visit of six experts from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the onsite mission to uranium rich districts in the country.
Uganda plans to produce up to 30,000 megawatts of electricity from its uranium by 2026. URN has learnt that a team of experts from IAEA headquarters in Vienna have since February 2017 been in Uganda for on-site and external events design (SEED) mission.
Preliminary surveys by the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development so far identified the districts of Lamwo, Kiruhura, Mubende and Buyende as potential sites for nuclear energy production.
IAEA is required by international regulations to conduct SEED missions as part of the process to approve countries seeking to use nuclear or atomic energy for peaceful actions like electricity production.
SEED missions according to IAEA, are designed to assist member states at different stages in the development of nuclear power programmes. The SEED safety review service offers a choice of modules on which to focus the review, such as site selection and assessment, and the design of structures, systems and components against external hazards.
The government through the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) and the nuclear energy unit of the ministry of Energy had officially requested IAEA to conduct the on-site mission as part of efforts to implement Uganda's Nuclear Power Roadmap development strategy.
The nuclear power roadmap development strategy was approved by cabinet in April 2015. The cabinet tasked the ministry of Energy to, among other issues, work with IAEA on site surveys and energy planning among others.
The ministry of Energy lists nuclear energy as part of its priorities in its policy statement of FY 2018/2019 - 2022/2023.
The visit by the SEED mission is also listed as some of the milestones achieved in the 2017/2018 financial year.
Engineer Sarah Nafuna, the head of nuclear energy unit at the ministry of Energy, could not be reached on phone for further information about the possible outcome from on-site and External Events Design (SEED) mission.
Other sources however indicated that Uganda is likely to meet the safety requirements once planned measures to control external, internal and human induced hazards of nuclear are implemented as par experts' advice.
Uganda, according to the sources, is yet to conduct a comprehensive seismic study to determine the possible hazard factors like earthquakes in areas where the nuclear power plants (NPP) are to be established.
Uganda is one of the 45 countries globally planning to tap into their uranium deposits for power generation. Others in East Africa include Kenya and Tanzania.
Uganda's nuclear energy ambitions have been criticised by some local and international energy experts on account of its huge investment costs and fears about likely disasters.
The government however insists that energy from nuclear power plants will be needed as part of the longer strategy given the rate of urbanisation and industrialisation projects to increase electricity demands.
The government in June last year signed a memorandum of understanding with a Russian firm on possible cooperation in the area of peaceful application of atomic energy.
In January this year, President Yoweri Museveni met the IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano, at State House Entebbe for discussions on Uganda's nuclear ambitions in areas of energy, health and agriculture.
Museveni has in the past defended Uganda's nuclear ambitions even at high level meetings like the United Nations Security Council.
He said countries like Uganda need to utilise their uranium mineral not to make nuclear bombs but nuclear energy. Government already procured the services of AF-Consult Switzerland Limited to work with Technology Deployment Working Group on a study on integrating nuclear power into the generation capacity plan 2015 - 2040.
The study was aimed at identifying the role of nuclear power in meeting anticipated future energy demand and guide nuclear power development in Uganda.
There are 2 issues here, (1) Uranium enriching to fuel grade let alone mining and (2) Nuclear Power generation and they both are not carried out in the same locale.
Now if you write that Uganda intends to generate electricity from its nuclear mineral potential by 2026, where in Uganda is the factory that is already enriching the uranium deposits to fuel grade when we do not even have any operational uranium mine?
Uganda could build a nuclear reactor but not maybe until the 2030s or so, and what I guess is that you have been fed a lot of bull by the officials who want to eat govt monies by declaring that we can have a nuclear plant by 2026.
Is Uganda a country with plenty of sunshine that can be transformed to solar energy or not? What about Wind? Have we already mastered nuclear engineering?
What if the nuclear power plant (if at all it will exist) explodes as it happened in former USSR? Do we have all the necessary precautions in place to avert a similar catastrophy?
A man who has dismally failed to offer health, educational... services to his people can not pretend to jump from the bottom of a pit to a tree top.
There is nothing that can explain this rubbish save the old man is simply looking for means to divert more billions of dollars to his personal account for his grand children, point. Everything is simply grotesque and immature with this reasoning!!
Do you think that generation 3 power plant's have the same shortcomings as USSR reactor (google positive void coefficient)?
And btw accident happened during the test where they turned off safety features of the power plant. It is the worst case scenario.
But no plant has been built that way since and other RBMK reactors were modified/updated and are running today safely.
Nuclear is the safest form of producing the energy even with the accidents included.
If you build wind/solar on large scale you would need backup plants which are often coal or gas - those need water too as nuclear.
The largest NPP in US is positioned in arizona desert - Palo Verde NPP so it can be done with small amount of water.
we hope in future a responsible leadership will engage in the solar system for the electrification of all the rural areas.
Good questions& points, Sir. This nuclear project is astll-birth.
At best it is a high yielding milk-cow for the regime. As for the site, I will not compain if they take that one also to their home.