20 June 2017

Uganda, Russia Sign Nuclear Agreement

Photo: The Independent
A hi-tech nuclear power plant. Uganda plans to build such facilities to boost her electricity needs.

Kampala — Uganda and Russia yesterday signed a pact on development of uranium into nuclear power for "peaceful purposes."

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Uganda's State minister for Minerals Simon D'Ujanga and Russia's deputy director general of ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation, Nikolai Spasskiy in Moscow.

The signing was made at the side-lines of ATOMEXPO, an international exhibition of the nuclear industry. The annual expo since 2009 brings together several players to discuss matters related to the nuclear energy industry.

"The Memorandum is the first agreement in the area of peaceful uses of atomic energy to be signed between the countries. It envisages the bilateral cooperation in wide range of spheres: development of nuclear infrastructure in Uganda, programmes for raising public awareness of nuclear technologies and its application, radioisotopes and radiation technologies' application in industrial, medical, agricultural sectors," reads a statement issued by Rosatom's press team.

Rosatom is a Russian state-owned nuclear corporation which runs uranium extraction and production and other nuclear activities in Russia and globally.

Other areas of collaboration under the pact include, radiological and physical security, fundamental and applied researches, human resource training, and nuclear research centres based on multifunctional research reactors.

"The joint working group of Russia and Uganda will define the scope of work for implementation of the initiatives mentioned.

The parties agreed to cooperate in the feasibility of implementing common projects referred to," the statement further reads.

The Uganda-Russia agreement comes barely a month after Uganda's ministry of Energy team led by Undersecretary Prisca Boonabantu travelled to China at the invitation of Zhonguan Engineering Corporation (CZEC), a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), as part of the ongoing discussions with Beijing to help Kampala develop peaceful nuclear at about $3b (Shs11 trillion). Nuclear discussions with Rosatom commenced last October shortly after the launch of the Uganda-Russian Joint Permanent Commission, an inter-governmental framework for economic, scientific and technical cooperation.

The discussions followed a meeting between Rosatom's regional vice-president for Sub-Saharan Africa Viktor Polikarpov and President Museveni on providing professional training in nuclear infrastructure development.

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