Uganda is taking steps to develop its nuclear energy capacity by sending scientists for training in South Africa. These scientists will be attached to Lesedi, a power-generating company with over 40 years of experience in nuclear energy-related activities.
Government officials have announced plans to send Ugandan scientists to South Africa annually as part of their strategy to build nuclear energy expertise. Currently, Uganda only has 22 nuclear scientists, but government statistics indicate a need for 1,004 nuclear energy specialists to support the national nuclear energy initiative.
Lesedi is responsible for operating the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station in Cape Town, South Africa. To enhance nuclear capacity training, officials from Lesedi and the Ugandan energy ministry recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
Ruth Nankabirwa, the Ugandan Energy Minister, highlighted that Uganda’s goal is to develop at least 24,000 megawatts of nuclear energy in phases over time. She emphasized the need for more specialists in this field and expressed confidence in Uganda’s ability to develop nuclear energy, aligning with the government’s plan to generate 52,000 megawatts by 2040.
Francis Curruthers, the CEO of Lesedi, expressed commitment to supporting Ugandan scientists with their extensive experience in nuclear energy generation and maintenance.
To further bolster the development of nuclear energy in Uganda, a dedicated nuclear department has been established within the energy ministry, and plans are underway to create a National Nuclear Energy Company. Additionally, a nuclear science center has been established at Soroti University.
The decision to develop nuclear energy is driven by Uganda’s increasing demand for power. Current peak power demand is growing at a rate of 15% per year, with projections indicating a growth rate of 22.7% per annum in the near future, as outlined in the National Development Plan.
Uganda has identified five potential districts for hosting nuclear power plants, including Mubende, Kiruhura, Lamwo, Buyende, and Nakasongola. These districts are strategically located near various basins and lakes, where uranium prospects have been identified.