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Uganda / Russia And South Korea Will Provide Country’s First Nuclear Reactors, President Says

By David Dalton
10 August 2023

Kampala wants first unit online in early 2030s

Russia And South Korea Will Provide Country’s First Nuclear Reactors, President Says
Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni said the nuclear project comes at ‘a critical time’.

Uganda has chosen Russia and South Korea to build two nuclear power stations, president Yoweri Museveni has been quoted as saying.

The state-run Turkish Anadolu news agency said the two new stations would generate a total of over 15,000 MW, but the figure was not confirmed and seems unrealistic. It would involve building around 10 large-scale nuclear reactors.

“The nuclear project comes at a critical time when nations are dealing with how to ensure energy security for socio-economic development,” Museveni told a summit in the capital Kampala on Tuesday (8 August).

He said negotiations with Russia and South Korea have concluded, but gave no further details.

According to the Kampala-based Daily Monitor, no timeline for construction has been set and funding has yet to be secured.

In March, Uganda’s energy and minerals minister Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu said the country expects to start generating at least 1,000 MW from nuclear power by 2031 as it moves with other sub-Saharan African nations to diversify its sources of electricity and accelerate its energy transition, a key part of its response to climate change.

She said the first nuclear project, the two-unit Buyende nuclear power station, would be at Buyende, about 150 km north of Kampala.

“Preparation to evaluate the Buyende nuclear power plant site is ongoing to pave the way for the first nuclear power project expected to generate 2,000 MW, with the first 1,000 MW to be connected to the national grid by 2031,” she said.

The Uganda Media Centre, the government’s official news outlet, has said Uganda is taking “firm steps” to integrate nuclear energy into the electricity generation mix to ensure energy security and provide sufficient electricity for industrialisation.

It said six other sub-Saharan African countries have committed to having nuclear as part of their energy mix between 2030 and 2037. They are Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia.

The only commercial power station in Africa is the two-unit Koeberg near Cape Town, South Africa. Russia is helping Egypt build a four-unit station at El-Dabaa.

Electricity demand in Uganda, a country of 43 million people, has increased significantly in recent years in line with its growing economy.

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