Uganda mulls nuclear energy generation to address rising power demand

Uganda mulls nuclear energy generation to address rising power demand
Cooling towers of atomic power plant. PHOTO/ SHUTTERSTOCK

Summary:

  • Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is collaborating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to advance nuclear energy development due to rising power demands. They’re evaluating uranium resources with IAEA’s support for sustainable fuel supply.

Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said on Tuesday that it is working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in efforts to develop nuclear energy in the country amid increasing demand for power.

Irene Batebe, permanent secretary of the ministry, said the government with support from IAEA is exploring and evaluating uranium resources to ensure sustainable supply of nuclear fuel for the planned nuclear power plants and research reactors.

“Uranium is the most widely used nuclear fuel material in nuclear power plants and research reactors and is required for Uganda’s nuclear power program.

“The planned nuclear power capacity will require about 4,000 tons of Uranium annually when fully operational. Thus, there is need for sustainable sources of uranium,” she said at the opening of the nine-day meeting with the experts from IAEA.

Batebe said the government is amending the Atomic Energy Act, 2008 to strengthen the legal framework for exploration, mining and processing of nuclear fuel resources.

She said the country’s electricity generation potential from hydro, biomass, geothermal and peat, even if fully developed, cannot meet the Uganda Vision 2040 targets.

“To meet our development targets, nuclear energy among other sources must be integrated in the electricity generation mix,” she said.

In April 2023, the Cabinet adopted the Energy Policy for Uganda, 2023 which envisages development of 52,481 MW generation capacity in the long term to meet the future demand, of which 24,000 MW will be nuclear power.

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