Busoga is blessed to host Uganda’s first ever Nuclear Power Plant, to be situated in Buyende District.
This has been announced by Gen. Yoweri Museveni while opening the Africa Nuclear Business Platform 2023 at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
Museveni said efforts are in full gear to pave way for this first plant to be set up and it will generate 2000MW. It is hoped that by 2031, the generated nuclear energy will be connected to the National grid.
The president said that the drought that befell Uganda in 2005 was a big lesson to Governmnent which forced him to direct the energy ministry to embrace Energy Mix by developing all sources of energy the country has.
“In 2005, we experienced a severe drought which affected the hydrology of river Nile. This affected our hydro power generation. It forced me to direct the energy ministry to invest in Energy Mix by developing all the available sources to address the issue of energy” he said.
Museveni said that Uganda is endowed with abandant energy resources which he said are fairly distributed across the country. These include rivers for hydro power with a potential of producing 15000MW, biomass 10000MW, Geothermal 1500MW, Wind 200MW among others including Uranium and Fossil fuels.
The president said the conference is timely because it comes at a critical time when Uganda and Africa at large need power for industrialization and other peaceful use.
“In Africa here, people have been asleep. It’s really been a struggle to wake up people. South Korea is now a first world country but in 1950s, it was poorer than many African countries. Now, they (South Korea) have 25 Nuclear Power Plants” he said adding that “here in Uganda, we have been having a big battle to wake people up including governmnent people. So, when we had this crisis on the few power plants we have on river Nile, I told them to fully develop all energy sources”
The president noted that Uganda is losing a lot of vegetation cover because villagers are heavily relying on biomass destroying about 40bn cubic meters of biomass annually because they use it for cooking and other work.
He said even as the country has registered progress in power generation, it is still insufficient. He said geothermal, hydro and biomass all combined, cannot meet Uganda’s energy needs. He said the country needs a total of 100000MW which cannot be met even if all the energy sources are fully developed.
“Therefore, to ensure sustainable energy supply, I halted exportation of our uranium. We have quite a bit of uranium. Some people came to me and wanted to export uranium. I said no because we need it to produce nuclear energy. I will not allow this (exportation) as long as I am still here. As wise people, given the 2005 crisis, we need to invest in Energy Mix” he said.
He said nuclear energy is good because it guarantees steady supply, reliable and has very low greenhouse emissions. He said nuclear is good for research and technology, agriculture, treatment and diagnosis of diseases among others.
Museveni said the issue of nuclear power in Africa is a must. He said whereas Africa has many rivers, research shows that all of them combined, their energy potential is low and yet even the water is not reliable due to climate change.
“Therefore, the option of nuclear is a very wise one and we should not waste time on that as we normally do when it comes Africa. Let’s support Africa because nuclear power is the only way to go” he said.
Meanwhile, prime minister Robinah Nabbanja said that nuclear power is one of the options that will help Uganda attain the global sustainable development goals especially goal number 7 that concerns access to affordable and clean energy.
“This conference is timely as the country is pursuing a plan for the development of a nuclear power plant” she said, adding that studies on potential sites for constructing a 2000MW plant were done in 2019 and Buyende was identified. She said Uganda is committed to pursuing this nuclear program with strict adherence to national and international treaties and legal instruments. The meeting was attended by participants from Russia, US, UK, France, South Africa, South Korea, Argentina, Spain and several African countries.