President Yoweri Museveni has defended the nuclear power generation in Uganda, clarifying that the crisis of 2005 when a severe drought affected the hydro power generation at Owen Falls Dam in Jinja prompted him to direct the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to diversify the energy mix to ensure energy security for the country.
“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,” the President said. President Museveni made the remarks this afternoon during the opening of the 2nd Africa Nuclear Business Platform Conference and Exhibition 2023 at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
President Museveni warmly welcomed all delegates to Uganda and congratulated the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development as well as the Nuclear Business Platform for organizing and hosting the conference.
“I greet all of you and I welcome our international delegates to Uganda. Karibu Sana,” he said.
The President further noted that the sustainable development and the utilization of these resources necessitates establishing transparent and well-balanced partnership with key technology providers.
“Therefore, this meeting presents a very good opportunity for exploring areas of strategic collaborations between African countries pursuing nuclear energy development and nuclear energy providers in forging the way forward,” he observed.
While referring to the speech by the representative of the South Korean CEO of the Korean Hydro and Nuclear Company (KHNP), Mr. Cha Seop Kim who said Korea has made great strides in the nuclear development, Mr. Museveni pointed out that the people of Africa and Uganda in particular including the government officials lack the mentality to initiate development programs citing Korea that was in the 1960’s poorer than some of the African countries, today has 25 nuclear power plants.
He said in 1986 Uganda was generating only 60 MW of electricity and the country will soon generate 2,100 MW of electricity observing that it will not be enough for the country’s needs. He added that Uganda needs about 100,000MW of electricity.
President Museveni also noted that the population destroys about 40 billion cubic meters of trees annually for heating and cooking. He said while trees grow easily it is not however the correct way to go.
On uranium, the President reiterated his firm stand that the natural mineral will never be exported as it is needed for the generation of nuclear power.
“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 stressed.
President Museveni further told delegates that the potential of rivers in Africa that include the Nile, Congo, Niger and Zambezi is about 300 MW and they are not reliable.
President Museveni also witnessed the signing of the three (3) Memoranda of Understanding between the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Officials and partners in the nuclear energy sector.
The first MOU was that of the establishment of a center of excellence at Soroti University and was signed by the Minister of State for Energy Hon Okasai Opolot while the Vice Chancellor Professor Ikojja signed on behalf of the University.
The Second MOU was for the establishment of the center for Nuclear Science and Technology at Soroti University and was signed by the Vice President of IVAP SE Mr. Pablo Abbate on behalf of IVAP SE group of Argentina and Hon. Okasai signed on behalf of the government of Uganda.
The 3rd MOU was for the development of a nuclear power plant in Uganda and was signed by Mr. Cha-seop Kim who was representing the CEO of South Korea’s Hydro and Nuclear Power Company Dr. Joo-ho-Whanga.
Earlier, the Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja said nuclear power is one of the options that will enable Uganda to achieve global goals of accessing electricity for all. She added that potential sites for the construction of the plants have been identified one of them being in Buyende district. She thanked IAEA for the technical support in the feasibility studies.
The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa who was represented by the Minister of State for Energy. Hon. Okaasai Sidronius Opolot told the audience that nuclear power offers many advantages such as a reliable and stable energy supply to enable industrialisation and thus energy security.
She added that the conference comes at the right time when the Government of Uganda has made the plans to incorporate nuclear power in the country’s energy mix, with an installation, currently standing at 1346MW mainly from Hydro.
“Your Excellence, this was your clearly thought out plan after the 2007 drought the country experienced leaving us in a black out. Your Excellency, since 2008, formable steps have been taken to develop a nuclear power programme for the Country. The Atomic Energy Act, 2008 is now under review and my Ministry has prepared Principles and a draft Nuclear Energy bill which have been presented to the Cabinet Standing Committee on Nuclear Energy before being sent to Parliament for strengthening of the nuclear power programme,” Hon. Nankabirwa said in a statement as read by Hon. Sidronius.
The Minister also brought it to the President’s attention that through his visionary leadership, 20 young Ugandan graduates were sent for further training in nuclear related fields abroad (United Kingdom, South Korea, Egypt, Ghana, Russia and China) and these have since come back and were able to develop a nuclear power road map strategy to kick start the nuclear power infrastructure development activities both for the regulatory side, the Atomic Energy Council, and also in the Ministry, the Nuclear Energy Department, to shape the envisaged 2000MW Nuclear power project.
“Your Excellence, as you are aware, a number of studies have been undertaken, choosing Buyende district as a future host of the Nuclear Power Programme. We are currently undertaking community engagements in the district for the Wananichi to appreciate the Government programme.”
The Deputy Director of IAEA Mr. Mikhail Chudakov pointed out that the clear alternative for clean energy is nuclear power that can lift many people in Africa from poverty.
Her said nuclear power can also mitigate the issue of climate change.
Running from 14th – 7th, March and hosted by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the Africa Nuclear Business Platform 2023 (AFNBP 2023) has attracted over 300 stakeholders from the domestic and international nuclear community who pursue nuclear energy implementation to understand and discuss nuclear energy developments in Africa and explore areas of strategic collaborations to move Uganda and African countries’ nuclear industry forward.
Africa Nuclear Business Platform
15 March 2023
Deputy Director General
Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy
Excellencies, dear colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen,
It is an honour to share a few words with you today at the start of the Africa Nuclear Business Platform. This annual conference has become a key event on the global calendar for sharing ideas and insights about Africa and nuclear power. It’s a topic dear to my heart.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let’s be honest.
From war and poverty to climate change and economic development, the world is facing a variety of severe challenges. Here in Africa, where almost 600 million people have no access to electricity, these challenges appear even more intractable.
And I think we can all agree – energy moves the world.
Countries are literally starving for energy—any kind of energy—to keep the lights on, to keep the cars and buses moving, to keep the factories running, to keep the farms producing, to keep hospitals and schools and shops open. In terms of the environment, the signs are all around us: forest fires, floods, droughts, extreme weather. So, we are grappling with both an energy and a climate crisis. Proven tools for powering economies—for lifting people out of poverty and putting them a path to sustainable prosperity, while mitigating climate change—are urgently needed.
Yet we know that most forms of reliable energy production entail the release of greenhouse gases. These gases are inexorably warming our planet, towards the point of overheating. So, while we want a lot more energy to live better, we also need to drastically reduce our energy production and consumption, in order to … survive.
This all seems like a wicked dilemma, a no-win, lose-lose situation, a zero-sum game.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Dear colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen,
I guess you know where I am going with this.
And if you think that I’m going to say that we have solutions to tackle these wicked problems, you are right. We do have solutions.
So, let me just say it: If we want to power the world economy, to lift millions of people out of poverty and give them a chance at prosperity, while slashing greenhouse gas emissions to stave off the worst effects of climate change, then we are going to need nuclear power.
A lot of nuclear power.
We need nuclear power not only for its clean, reliable, and sustainable production of round-the-clock electricity, which is a perfect low-carbon partner for variable renewables such as solar and wind. We also need it for non-electric applications that can decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors such as industry, transportation, and heating and cooling for buildings.
Nuclear power is the only low-carbon and scalable energy source available today that can provide baseload electricity, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That means it’s the only clean alternative to the reliable electricity generated by dirty fossil fuels that still account for 80% of global energy consumption, despite all efforts to combat climate change.
And what is the state today of nuclear power?
Currently 442 nuclear power reactors operate in 32 countries totalling about 380 gigawatts electric of installed capacity. That amounts to approximately 10% of global electricity generation and about a quarter of all low-carbon power production.
57 nuclear power reactors totalling some 60 gigawatts electric of installed capacity are under construction in 18 countries. That includes Egypt, here in Africa, which is building its first nuclear power plant and will become the continent’s second operating country, after South Africa.
But as we all know, many other countries on your continent are lining up to follow in Egypt’s footsteps.
This is of vital importance, not only for the development and prosperity of these countries, but for the world itself.
According to the International Energy Agency in Paris, nuclear power electricity generating capacity will need to double by 2050 if we are to reach net zero goals. In fact, it probably needs to increase even more than that—by up to 500% compared with current levels, according to the scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
But is this even possible? Critics would say that nuclear power is far too expensive and slow to build to achieve such an ambitious expansion.
History, however, says otherwise. For example, after the oil supply shocks of the 1970s, a massive wave of investment in nuclear helped several countries strengthen their energy security, fuel their economies, and reduce their dependence on imported fossil fuels.
I see a similar situation today, a ray of hope that the challenges we are faced with now are becoming the catalysts allowing us to shift to more sustainable energy path.
With climate change, rising energy costs and heightened energy security concerns dominating the global agenda, several countries are now reconsidering using clean and reliable nuclear power.
The IAEA latest high case projections to the year 2050, show nuclear capacity more than doubling to 873 gigawatts electrical. That’s an increase of 10% over the previous year, when we revised up the projections for the first time since the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011.
Beyond these projections, the facts on the ground speak for themselves.
In Europe, where nuclear power plants still provide the largest source of low-carbon energy, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom are recommitting to it, while others like Poland and Estonia are making headway towards introducing it for the first time. Even in Germany, the last remaining reactors are being kept online for the time being.
Asia, led by China and India but also Bangladesh, Japan and South Korea; Russia and Turkiye; and Canada, the United States and other countries in the Americas are refocussing on nuclear. Even the oil-rich Middle East, led by the United Arab Emirates with its four new reactors, as well as many nations on this continent are looking to nuclear power. Meanwhile, Small Modular Reactors and other advanced nuclear technologies will provide new options for industry and for communities and countries with smaller grids.
As for public acceptance of nuclear power, recent surveys in many countries show that it is rising. Nuclear power, thanks in part to the IAEA’s efforts, has pulled up a chair at the annual UN Climate Change Conference and is increasingly present at other key policy tables as well. Even in countries where it was a taboo subject, nuclear is again part of the conversation.
Still, massively scaling up nuclear today would require a step change in the degree of nuclear investment. The past two decades saw enormous global investments in wind and solar, but rather little in new nuclear.
The result has been that we still rely overwhelmingly on fossil fuels because it’s simply impossible for solar and wind singlehandedly to decarbonise grids, let alone entire economies.
These challenges but also opportunities will be the focus of discussions at the IAEA’s second International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power: Atoms4NetZero, in October this year, in Vienna. I hope to see a large representation from Africa in that forum.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Since the dawn of the atomic age, nuclear has relied on international cooperation to share knowledge and experience, which in turn has helped to improve technologies and strengthen safety, security, and safeguards.
Today, this cooperation through the IAEA takes on many forms. One of them is on SMRs. The Agency is seeking to facilitate their safe and secure deployment through an initiative aimed at harmonizing both regulatory and industrial approaches. We have also streamlined our support to Member States through the IAEA SMR Platform, which provides easy access to all the Agency’s services, from technology development and deployment to safety and safeguards.
From Africa to Asia, around 30 newcomers are exploring or already embarking on the introduction of nuclear power. About half of them are in Africa. The IAEA directly supports them in the development of the necessary infrastructure for safe, secure, and sustainable nuclear power. This includes training and technical assistance as part of our Milestones Approach, which covers 19 different infrastructure issues, from regulatory and legal frameworks to human resources, nuclear safety, and stakeholder engagement.
The Agency’s Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review, or INIR mission, is a comprehensive peer review service for newcomers to assess the state of their nuclear infrastructure. To date, around 10 INIR missions have been hosted by African countries including Uganda, where we delivered our INIR report to President Museveni last year.
I believe the effectiveness of the INIR process, and IAEA support in general, can be seen in the recent success of Belarus and the UAE. Both countries worked with the IAEA for over a decade, hosting INIR missions across all phases of development, before finally starting the operation of their first nuclear power plants.
Bangladesh, Egypt, and Turkiye are following in their footsteps. Indeed, next year, we will carry out INIR Phase 3 missions to both Bangladesh and Turkiye, as the final review before they start operating their reactors.
In 2024 we are also planning a Phase 1 mission to Zambia, the latest in a long line of African countries to host such a review. Besides the already mentioned countries, this list includes Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, and South Africa.
Dear colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen,
International cooperation is needed now more than ever if we are to get to net zero while ensuring reliability and stability in energy supply and prices. Helping to lift countries towards prosperity, requires it. Ensuring that existing prosperity remains sustainable into the future, requires it. We also need young people to provide new ways of understanding and reimagining nuclear power. And we need the most talented people at the table, which means pulling down barriers that keep women from the nuclear field.
I am proud to say that the IAEA is making tangible difference. Our Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme has provided scholarships for master’s degrees in nuclear related subjects to 360 young women, since its inception in 2020. Twenty-five percent of these students come from Africa. And we don’t stop there: just last week we have launched a professional development programme for early- and mid-career women in the nuclear sector, named after one of the world’s greatest physicists, Lise Meitner. The first professional visits under this programme will take place in June 2023, in the United States of America – help us spread the word and attract qualified women to participate.
As you can see, the IAEA is working on a wide range of topics to support all its Member States. I am confident your discussions on these topics will also stand us in good stead. Together, I am convinced we have the tools, wisdom, knowledge, and energy to forge the path for a better tomorrow.
THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
HOST WELCOME ADDRESS
BY THE HON.DR. RUTH NAKABIRWA SENTAMU,
MINISTER OF ENERGY AND MINERAL ENERGY DEVELOPMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
AT THE OPENING OF THE
NUCLEAR BUSINESS PLATFORM CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION 2023, HOSTED BY THE MINISTRY OF ENERGY AND MINERAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
SPEKE RESORT MUNYONYO, KAMPALA
15TH MARCH 2023
- Your Excellency, The President of the Republic of Uganda
- The Right Honourable Prime Minister,
- Honourable Members of Parliament,
- My Colleagues, the Ministers of State in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral
- Honourable Ministers,
- Samson Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Republic of South Africa,
- Mr Mikhail Chudakov, the Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),
- Ms Aleshia Duncan, the chairperson of the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC),
- Dr Kirsten Cutler, Special Advisor for Nuclear Innovation U.S. Department of State, USA,
- Mr Zaf Coelho, Managing Director, Nuclear Business Platform,
- Ladies and Gentlemen
- It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to Uganda for the African Nuclear Business Platform (AFNBP) Conference & Exhibition 2023. We thank Nuclear Business Platform, our partners for this conference, for choosing us to host this high-level conference meeting which brings together all the key stakeholders both from the domestic and international community to understand and discuss nuclear energy developments in Africa and to explore areas of strategic collaborations to move Uganda and African countries’ nuclear industry forward.
- Distinguished participants, nuclear power offers many advantages such as a reliable and stable energy supply to enable industrialisation thus energy security. Nuclear Energy also gives link to energy transition a global call worldwide.
- Your Excellence, this conference has come at the right time when the Government of Uganda has made the plans to incorporate nuclear power in the country’s energy mix, with our installed currently at 1346MW mainly from Hydro. Your Excellence, this was your clearly thought-out plan after the 2007 drought the country experienced leaving us a in a black out.
- Your Excellency, since 2008, formable steps have been taken to develop a nuclear power programme for the Country. The Atomic Energy Act, 2008 is now under review and my Ministry has prepared Principles and a draft Nuclear Energy bill which have been presented to the Cabinet Standing Committee on Nuclear Energy before being sent to Parliament for strengthening of the Nuclear power programme.
- Your Excellence, through your visionary leadership, young graduates (20) were sent for further training in nuclear related fields abroad (United Kingdom, South Korea, Egypt, Ghana, Russia and China). These have since come back and were able to develop a nuclear power road map strategy to kick start the nuclear power infrastructure development activities both for the regulatory side, the Atomic Energy Council ,and also in the Ministry, the Nuclear Energy Department, to shape the envisaged 2000MW Nuclear power project.
- Your Excellence and Distinguished participants, as a country, its our long term plan is to set up a Centre of Excellence in Nuclear studies at one of our Public Universities, Soroti University of which a MOU has been arranged to be signed during this important occasion. This centre will focus on research and applied science to encourage peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy such production of radioisotopes for cancer management.
- Your Excellence, as you are aware, a number of studies have been undertaken, choosing Buyende district as a future host of the NPP. We are currently, undertaking community engagements in the district for the Wananichi to appreciate the Government programme.
- Your Excellency the expected outcomes of this conference, include:
- Increased awareness about Ugandas Nuclear Power Programme.
- Increased networking with the regional and international nuclear industry (government, regulators, NSSS vendors, construction companies, EPC players, manufacturers, law firms, and financial firms).
- Increased collaborations with global nuclear technology providers such as EDF, ROSATOM, CNNC, KEPCO, Westinghouse as well as international organizations such as the IAEA, IFNEC and AFCONE.
- Increased government revenue through tourism and hospitality industry.
- Finally, I offer my Government’s heartfelt appreciation to the organisers Nuclear Business Platform, the IAEA and all other partners in this cause for giving Uganda a chance to host the conference in support towards developing the our nuclear power infrastructure.
- Thank you all for listening, and I wish to invite the Rt. Hon Prime Minister also head of Government Business to give her speech.
For God and My Country