Uganda’s Nuclear Plant Project to Displace Over 25,000 Locals

Members of the Kasato-Kidera Sub-County are seen during a nuclear energy plant community engagement with officials from the minerals ministry in Buyende District in October 2023. PHOTO/SAM CALEB OPIO

Uganda’s long-anticipated nuclear plant project is set to displace over 25,000 residents across more than ten villages in Buyende District. These villages include Kasaato, Buyanja ‘B’, Buyanja’ A’, Nawansaso, Butayunjwa, Kabalongo, Kiiga, Kyankoole, Kibaale, and Nakawa, all within Buyanja Sub-County.

Solomon Muyita, the Chief of Communications for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, explained that Buyende was selected as the ideal location for the project due to its central position, low population density, availability of land, and numerous water sources from Lake Kyoga for the nuclear reactors.

However, concerns have been raised about how the displaced locals will adapt to their new locations, given that many of them are fishermen and livestock farmers who have lived along the River Nile and Lake Kyoga shoreline for generations.

Local leaders and representatives have expressed worries about the social and economic impacts of the project. They fear that the mass exodus may lead to the breakup of families, domestic violence, and challenges in adjusting to new livelihoods.

State Minister for Minerals Peter Lokeris emphasized the importance of looking beyond compensation benefits, highlighting the potential of the nuclear plant to create jobs and address Uganda’s persistent power shortages.

The project aims to contribute significantly to Uganda’s electricity generation capacity, with the goal of manufacturing nuclear energy by 2031, as approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in May 2022. President Museveni has stressed the use of uranium deposits to supplement the current hydro and geothermal power capacity.

Buyende District hopes to leverage the project to improve infrastructure, ensure consistent power supply, and establish facilities to address nuclear-related health concerns.

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