Uganda is pushing for the development of nuclear energy to supplement the energy needs of the country.
During the ongoing world atomic energy conference in Viena, Austria, engineer Simon Giu D'Ujanga, State minister for energy said Uganda is prepared to start the development of the nuclear energy as the country gears for industrialization. He said Uganda has a strong case for the development as the demand for electricity increases. He said the country has abundant potential and that nuclear energy will help in addressing the electricity needs of the country.
"Uganda continues to prepare for the introduction of nuclear power as part of the diversification strategy for meeting future electricity needs. With nuclear power prospects and the significant rise of atomic energy applications, Uganda reaffirms her commitment towards developing the nuclear power infrastructure and strengthening national nuclear safety, security and safeguarding the regime. We welcome Agency's assistance towards this end," D'Ujanga said.
Mr D'Ujanga, however, said the nuclear development will only be for generation of electricity. The minister said as a country, they will work together with the international atomic energy agency to address the security, safety and ensure that such developments do not end up as nuclear terrorism.
"Uganda believes that development cannot be sustained without peace and security. We wish therefore to applaud the Agency for its international coordination role in enhancing nuclear security regime and for monitoring and safeguarding nuclear material to ensure that peaceful nuclear endeavours do not result in nuclear terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation."
He said the agency has already played key roles in ensuring that Uganda's only radiotherapy centre facility complied with the international safety standards. He said similar programmes will be implemented with the full support from the agency.
"I take this opportunity to commend the Agency for the support towards the restoration of radiotherapy services in my country. The Agency's assistance to Member States in advancing the use of nuclear energy for social economic development will go a long way in supporting the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals in the areas of food and agriculture, water resources management, industry and energy development."
Engineer Noah Deogratias Luwalira, the Chief Executive Officer of the Atomic Energy Council of Uganda said the country has already embarked on a prefeasibility study to ascertain the potential of the country's nuclear energy, a decision which will inform whether the country can develop a nuclear energy facility.
He said the country is also building the technical capacity of the staff to meet the global standards in developing nuclear facilities.
Already a four-man team has been set up at the ministry of energy and mineral development to spearhead the prefeasibility study. He also said the country is developing relevant documents to regulate the development.
"We are building technical human resource capacity in promotion and regulation of nuclear energy. This is through training of personnel, development of regulatory documents and acquiring basic equipment," he said.