Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has announced that Russia and South Korea will soon start building nuclear power plants in the country.
Addressing the 2nd G-25 Africa Coffee Summit at the Speke Resort Hotel in Kampala, Museveni said negotiations with Russia and South Korea had already been concluded.
“Russia and South Korea are going to build two nuclear power plants of 15,000 megawatts. The nuclear project comes at a critical time when nations are dealing with how to ensure energy security for socio-economic development,” he said.
Recently, while addressing the nation, Museveni said that Uganda has abundant hydropower resources distributed in different parts of the country, but there is a need for more partnerships to explore the new technologies in the sector, hence the need to develop nuclear power.
He also noted that the changing weather patterns meant that hydropower is no longer very reliable.
During the Russia-Africa summit last month in St. Petersburg, Uganda and Russia reportedly signed a deal on a nuclear power plant project.
Research carried out a few years ago by Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development confirmed that the country has the potential to start producing nuclear power after the discovery of large deposits of uranium in its eastern region.
Currently, Uganda is struggling to find money to fund the development of hydro dams that are cheaper than the nuclear power station.
Uganda’s current power generation capacity is 1402MW and only has a power for only 800MW, leaving the rest not consumed. The government plans to export power abroad.
The president also revealed that Uganda has uranium deposits, a mineral used for the production of nuclear power, and several investors have approached him to mine them for export which he rejected.
“A western company proposed to mine uranium. I asked them, ‘mine it and take it where?’ They said export it. I asked export it for what purpose? They told me, ‘We want to take uranium’,” he said.
The low connectivity in Uganda and the region, in general, may offer justification for the planned 15,000MW nuclear generation. Despite huge hydropower potential, Museveni has said dams cannot be relied upon in the long term due to uncertainties around climate change.
Currently, South Africa has the only operational nuclear power plant on the continent while Russia’s state-owned energy corporation Rosatom last year started construction on Egypt’s first nuclear plant.