Uganda and African countries need more scientists trained in the use of nuclear science whose use is growing globally. Nuclear science and technology involves the study and use of nuclear energy which is a clean source of energy and for other purposes such as medical treatment for cancer.
Nuclear power plays an important role in providing large amounts of clean and reliable electricity to support the growing energy needs cheaply.
The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Eng. Irene Muloni while addressing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology said that in view of advancement in nuclear energy applications in terms of technology and quantity, there is need to match the human resources capacity with the infrastructure development.
The conference was held under the theme: ‘Addressing Current and Emerging Development Challenges’ in Vienna, Austria, recently.
“In Africa little is known about the positive contribution of nuclear energy. I would like to reaffirm Uganda’s commitment towards strengthening the national infrastructure for nuclear safety, security and safeguards,” Eng. Muloni said.
The conference aimed at facilitating high-level dialogue among participants on nuclear science, technology and applications for peaceful uses, and on their delivery to IAEA member states, mainly through the agency's technical cooperation programme, while highlighting their future contribution to sustainable development.
With reference to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development reiterated the inalienable right of state parties to develop research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
PEACEFUL NUCLEAR USE OFFER SOLUTIONS
Eng. Muloni added that global cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology over the years has provided solutions to a number of challenges facing humanity in the areas of: - human health, agricultural productivity, water resource management, environmental restoration and energy. The minister commended the agency for the continuous technical assistance to member states to benefit from the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
She applauded the agency for the contribution towards the restoration of radiotherapy services at the Uganda Cancer Institute.
Notably, the application of nuclear science and technology can be used to facilitate the attainment of nine of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. In light of this the use of nuclear energy to address socio-economic challenges to humanity is on the increase.
During the conference the minister held bilateral discussions with IAEA director general, Yukiya Amano and the director TCAF, division for Africa in the department of Technical Cooperation Shaukat Abdulrazak on enhancing technical cooperation in the expansion of radiotherapy centers, strengthening food safety laboratory, nuclear power infrastructure development and capacity building in nuclear science and technology.
PRODUCING 2,000 MEGAWATTS OF POWER
In the next 10 to 15 years, Uganda plans to produce 2,000 megawatts of power from nuclear power plants. Uganda Vision 2040 identifies inadequate supply of modern energy services as a key bottleneck for sustainable development. Uganda huge deposits of uranium which can be used to fuel nuclear power plants.
South Africa has two nuclear reactors generating 5% of its electricity with plans to increase its use. Over 11% of the world’s electricity today is produced from nuclear energy.
The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) on cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy on June 19th 2017 in Moscow.
The document set out a framework for co-operation with a focus on development of nuclear power infrastructure in Uganda and the uses of radioisotopes and radiation technologies, applications in industry, medicine, agriculture and other areas.
The memorandum covered collaboration on human resource education and training, nuclear research centers, nuclear energy among others.