President Museveni yesterday witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the ministry of Energy and a South Korean company to construct a 2,000 MW nuclear power plant in Uganda.
Speaking at the African Nuclear Business Platform in Kampala, the President said nuclear power will provide a reliable and sustainable power supply to boost social-economic development in the country.
'The nuclear project comes at a critical time when nations are dealing with how to ensure energy security for social economic development. Uganda has abundant power resources distributed in different parts of the country but there is a need for more partnerships to explore the new technologies in the sector,' Mr Museveni said.
He also explained that the changing weather patterns mean that hydropower is no longer very reliable.
'In 2005, Uganda experienced a severe drought that affected the hydrology of the River Nile, which affected the electricity generation from the Owen falls dam, as a result, we resorted to the expensive fossil powered plants,' Mr Museveni said.
'This prompted me to direct the ministry of energy to diversify the energy mix to develop all the available energy resources including nuclear energy,' he added.
The President revealed that even if Uganda's hydro, biomass, geothermal and other power sources are fully harnessed, they cannot reach the country's energy needs which is estimated at 10,000MW.
'We shall soon be generating about 2,100MW of hydro power, but this very little if it was not for the use of biomass and solar energy,' he added.
The nuclear power plant to be built by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company Limited is to be set up in Buyende District, eastern Uganda, at an estimated cost of $9b.
Speaking at the same ceremony, the Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja, said: 'The nuclear energy is one of the options to enable Uganda to achieve the global goal of universal access to electricity for all.'
'The government concluded the feasibility studies for introducing nuclear power in the electricity generation mix in 2019 and the government is committed to enhance the legal and institutional framework for nuclear energy to strengthen the energy sector,' she added.
The State Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Mr Sindronius Opolot, said at least 20 Ugandans graduated in the nuclear energy sector from countries such as the UK, South Korea, Russia and China.
He further noted that the government is to set up a centre of nuclear excellence at Soroti University to train more Ugandans in the nuclear sector.
He said: 'Today (yesterday), we are going to sign a memorandum of understanding with Soroti University to enable us develop the human capacity that we require to run our nuclear projects.'
According to the ministry of Energy, the power from nuclear power projects is anticipated to be added to the national grid by 2031.