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Uganda liaises with global atomic agency, set to develop own nuclear plant

Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has highlighted its collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with the aim of developing nuclear energy and setting up a power plant in the country to meet the surging demand for electricity by its citizens.

According to the East African, Irene Batebe, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, the Ugandan government, with support from the IAEA, is exploring and evaluating uranium resources which would be used to ensure a sustainable supply of nuclear fuel for the planned nuclear power plant 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 a need for sustainable sources of uranium,” she said at the opening of the nine-day meeting with the experts from the IAEA.

Batebe revealed efforts the government is making on its part to set the ball rolling in the country’s aspiration to own a nuclear plant and boost the supply of electricity to the citizens.

She noted that the government is amending the Atomic Energy Act 2008 to strengthen and promote the legal framework for the exploration, mining, and processing of nuclear fuel resources.

The Permanent Secretary highlighted the existing source of electricity generation in the country and measured its capacity to deliver the country’s long-term energy production targets.

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 into the electricity generation mix,” she said.

Last Year in April, Uganda had a serious conversation about its energy production and transmission, setting targets and actionable directives to improve the energy sector in the country.

The Ugandan government set up a cabinet that adopted the Energy Policy for Uganda, 2023 which envisages the development of 52,481 megawatts(MW) generation capacity in the long term to meet the future demand, of which 24,000 MW will be nuclear power.

What to know 

  • The IAEA is the world’s centre for cooperation in the nuclear field and seeks to promote the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear technologies. Experts from the agency are holding a nine-day meeting with the Ugandan government with the aim of developing a nuclear power plant in the country.
  • According to the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), Uganda generated 6,032.3 gigawatts (GWh) of electricity in 2023. As of December 2022, Uganda’s installed capacity was 1,402 megawatts (MW), with demand at 843 MW, leaving a surplus of 559 MW.

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