By Sierra Ruth Arinaitwe
Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development together with the Nuclear Business Platform will next week host the Africa Nuclear Business Platform 2023 (AFNBP 2023), a conference that will bring together over 300 stakeholders from the international nuclear community.
According to the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, the Africa Nuclear Business Platform 2023 will bring together the key stakeholders pursuing nuclear energy implementation to understand and discuss nuclear energy developments in Africa and explore areas of strategic collaborations to move Uganda and African countries’ nuclear industry forward.
“This conference which will be graced by H.E. General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and senior officials from various countries, presents an excellent opportunity to Uganda, particularly, and the African continent in general, to find suitable approaches to challenges in the nuclear industry,” said Uganda’s Energy Minister during a press briefing held at the ministry headquarters.
This follows the hosting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission (INIR Phase1) in 2021 which evaluated the status of nuclear infrastructure development in Uganda. During the interactions, experts from IAEA made recommendations and suggestions to the Uganda Nuclear Power Programme and identified good practices in national position, stakeholder involvement and local industrial involvement.
The move to integrate nuclear energy into the country’s electricity generation mix is a measure Uganda is embarking on to diversify the electricity generation mix as a way of addressing the electricity crisis of 2005 given that Uganda is experiencing an ever-increasing population, economic growth, and rising social needs that require sustainable development of energy resources.
Hon. Nankabirwa said government identified nuclear as part of Uganda’s energy transition plan and it continues to invest in developing the requisite infrastructure, including human capital development in specialized areas to support the early development of nuclear power.
The minister noted that Uganda has taken significant steps towards implementing the INIR recommendations and suggestions to support the development of its nuclear power programme.
Among these is the preparation for the amendment of the Atomic Energy Act, 2008, to strengthen the legal regime for nuclear safety, security, safeguards for nuclear material, civil nuclear liability and maintaining the nuclear institutional framework.
In addition, preparation to evaluate the Buyende Nuclear Power Plant site is ongoing to pave the way for the first nuclear power project expected to generate 2,000MW, with the first 1000MW to be connected to the national grid by 2031.
Emmanuel Wamala, an Assistant Commissioner in charge of nuclear fuel at the Ministry of Energy pointed out that in the area of human capital development, the ministry has plans of setting up an institute in Soroti District to support the training of human resource and engineers who are interested in pursuing careers in nuclear energy development.
In the meantime, they are looking at options of introducing nuclear energy training programme in higher learning institutions.
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