Nuclear a wise choice, says President of Uganda

17 March 2023

The choice of nuclear power is a "very wise" one, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told the opening of the 2nd Africa Nuclear Business Platform Conference. Uganda's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development signed memoranda of understanding (MoU) with nuclear energy sector partners from Argentina and South Korea during the conference in Kampala.

Musuveni addressed the event which took place in Kampala (Image: Official website for Yoweri K Museveni)

"In 2005, Uganda experienced drought that affected hydro electricity generation from Owen Falls Dam. As a result, we resorted to expensive fossil-powered plants to support the economy which prompted me to direct the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to diversify the energy mix to develop all the available resources including nuclear energy as a means to address the electricity needs of the country," Museveni said.

From generating only 60 MW of electricity in 1986, Uganda will soon generate 2,100 MW of electricity - but that will not be enough for the country's future needs, the president said.

According to the latest edition of the International OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) joint report on uranium resources, production and demand - Uranium 2020: Resources, Production and Demand, known as the Red Book - the Ugandan government is evaluating national uranium resources as part of long-term planning as the country considers adding nuclear energy to its future energy mix. The IAEA is supporting these efforts through its Technical Cooperation programme, but Msuveni said the country would not become an exporter of uranium.

"I halted the exportation of uranium because we need electricity for socio-economic development. The issue of nuclear power in Africa is a must, it is reliable. The option of nuclear power is a very wise one; we should not waste time on that," he said.

According to Uganda's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, even the full development of the country's abundant energy resources - including hydro, biomass, geothermal and peat - will not be enough to meet its target of 3,668 kWh electricity per capita consumption by 2040. The country wants to include nuclear energy in its generation mix to ensure energy security and provide sufficient electricity for industrialisation. It is currently working to implement the recommendations and suggestions of a 2021 IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission (INIR) mission to evaluate the status of nuclear infrastructure development.

A site at Kasaato Village, in the Kidera Subcounty of Buyende District, has been proposed for a nuclear power plant, with alternative sites in Nakasongola and Kiruhura Districts, with the the first 1000 MW plant pencilled in for grid connection by 2031.

In an address read out on her behalf by Minister of State for Energy Okaasai Sidronius Opolot, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu said the country has taken "formable steps" to develop a nuclear power programme. These include progress on the legislative and regulatory requirements as well as the site selection.


The conference also saw the signature of an MoU on nuclear cooperation between the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), under which the two organisations will cooperate closely in the fields of design, construction, and operation of nuclear power plants.

In a keynote speech to the conference, KHNP CEO Hwang Joo-ho said: "Through cooperation with Africa, we will do our best to contribute to the supply of low-carbon energy, which will be the future growth engine of Africa, with Korean nuclear power plant and smart nuclear power technology.Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development officials also signed two MoUs on the proposed establishment of a nuclear research centre at Soroti University: one with the university itself and another with INVAP of Argentina, who have already partnered in the process to select the site for the nuclear training centre.

The conference, which was hosted by Uganda's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, took place from 14-17 March.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News