The government of Uganda has agreed with the Russian Federation to cooperate in the peaceful application of atomic energy in the fields of energy generation, medicine, agriculture, education and research.
The focus of the cooperation will be feasibility studies for nuclear power projects, uranium exploration and evaluation, cancer management, development of food and agriculture, water resource management and strengthening the national nuclear and radiation safety infrastructure.
The Minister of State for Energy, Simon D’Ujanga led the Ugandan negotiators to the talks which concluded today in Kampala. Other negotiators included among others, the Under-Secretary Prisca Boonabantu and Engineer Sarah Nafuna, the Head of Uganda’s Nuclear Energy Unit in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development. The Russian delegation was led by the Ambassador to Uganda, Alexander Dmitrievech Polyakov and a Rosatom representative Dmitriy Batyushenkov.
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network, Minister D’Ujanga said the two governments will sign a Memorandum of Understanding in June this year, presenting a binding framework to support Uganda’s plan to meet its huge energy deficit by harnessing its Uranium deposits.
The plan is in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) 2010-2015 and Vision 2040 blueprint which identifies energy as a major resource Uganda is banking on to spur industrialisation.
According to the NDP, Uganda intends to use its uranium reserves to generate electricity using nuclear power stations. Surveys by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development indicate that Uganda has about 52,000 square kilometres of uranium deposits.
The development comes at the backdrop of a meeting held between President Yoweri Museveni and a team from Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation-Rosatom, in Uganda last year. The delegation, which was led by Viktor Polikarpov, the firm’s regional vice-president for Sub-Saharan Africa, confirmed the agency’s willingness to support Uganda’s plan for the peaceful use of nuclear power.
Rosatom already runs Uranium extraction and production, nuclear power generation, nuclear fuel, nuclear weapons and nuclear safety activities in Russia and other parts of the world. The company also claims to be Russia’s “largest electricity generating company producing 196.37 kilowatt-hour of electricity in 2016, or 18.3 percent of the country’s total generation of electricity.
According to its Website, Rosatom produces approximately 3,000 tonnes of uranium domestically and some 5,000 tonnes in other countries annually. Further searches also reveal Rosatom as a company that runs all nuclear assets of the Russian Federation, both civil and weapons.
Russia has signed similar agreements with Tajikistan, Japan, Tunisia, Indonesia, among others. Other countries which include among others, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria have also shown interest in working with the Russian agency to develop their nuclear potential.
The Ugandan parliament already approved the principles for the peaceful use of nuclear power and enacted the Atomic Energy Act which gave birth to the Atomic energy council.