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Friday, 19th January 2018
President Yoweri Museveni meets Ambassador Yukia Amano, Director General, IAEA
Ambassador Yukia Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has held high level consultations with H.E. President Yoweri Museveni on the Technical Cooperation Programme between the IAEA and Uganda. The meeting that took place at State House Entebbe on Wednesday 17th January 2018 was also attended by Mr. Shaukat Abdulrazak, Director TCAF, Division for Africa in the department of Technical Cooperation, Uganda's Energy State Minister Eng. D'Ujanga Simon and the Health Minister Dr. Ruth Aceng, among others.

The visit by the IAEA Director General is as a result of the culmination of the good working relationship between Uganda and the IAEA Secretariat in Vienna, Austria. The cooperation between Uganda and IAEA is implemented within the Country Programme Framework (CPF). This mutual agreement matches nuclear technology to national priorities for sustainable development between Uganda and IAEA on Nuclear Science and Technology.

President Museveni pointed out that unless solar becomes a cheaper alternative source of clean energy, Africa and Uganda in particular would have to use nuclear energy to improve the well-being of its people. 

"What is important is to master nuclear technology. Already we are training our people in this field," he said. Uganda has already trained 15 nuclear experts headed by Eng. Sarah Nafuna in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

"Vector control and cancer treatment are subsidiary. The main issue is energy resource. Nuclear is clean energy, better than fossil fuels. At policy and strategic level, let us have convergence use. We are ready to work with you. We have no hidden agenda," he said. 

The President said there were two confused groups in the use of nuclear. 

"Those who say they have a right to the monopoly of weapons of mass destruction and those who push for nuclear weapons. How can a civilized person talk like that? This doctrine is so provocative and unsustainable. Why would big countries push for monopoly instead of disarmament? I cannot believe that civilized people can be so irrational. For us we just want electricity," he said.

President Museveni said even if the cost of solar energy goes down to four cents or even lower, in some parts of Africa because of the cloud cover, they may not be able to use solar unless the batteries improve for storage.

"Let's be open minded on this. What we want is electricity for our people's welfare," he said.

Ambassador Amano, who will also witness the official commissioning of the New Cobalt 60 Machine at the Uganda Cancer Institute, said as IAEA, they are doing a lot in making nuclear energy for peaceful use and is already supporting Uganda in implementing projects that use nuclear for peaceful purposes for the well-being of the people.

"People are not aware that you can use nuclear very peacefully for the well-being of humanity. We use nuclear to treat cancer. In Uganda, our people came to improve and get involved with technical support in installing the new cobalt cancer machine. In Agriculture, we are already using drones on one of the islands on Lake Victoria to use sterilization to eradicate tsetse flies. This is the first time to use this technology anywhere in the world," he said.

Ambassador Amano said they can also use drones to monitor water levels for pollution for health reasons. He said it is no longer the energy for only developed countries. Despite it requiring a lot of preparations, it is important that the transfer of technology from IAEA to other countries to increase on the welfare of the people.

"We can use technology carefully to improve our peoples' welfare. We are here to talk to decision and policy makers, doctors, scientists on this. Every source of energy has advantages and disadvantages. Nuclear is stable with a lot of energy but you need very good preparations. The important issues are; public acceptance, money and technology. IAEA is very happy to work with you and help you at every level," he said.

The Minister of State for Energy Eng. Simon D'ujanga said the current country programme framework (CPF 2014-2018) between Uganda and IAEA includes; feasibility studies for nuclear power projects, uranium exploration and evaluation, cancer management, food and agriculture, water resources management and strengthening the national nuclear and radiation safety infrastructure. The IAEA supports the country through the provision of specialized equipment, training of staff and provision of expert advice. He said they are also in the process of updating and upgrading the nuclear law to include nuclear power in accordance to acceptable international laws.

During the period 2014-2018, this cooperation has registered a number of achievements to include among others;
  • Support to the development of the nuclear power road-map through the feasibility studies in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
  • Supported the restoration of radiotherapy services at Uganda Cancer Institute.
  • Supported the continuation of Nuclear Medicine services at Mulago Referral Hospital which carries out specialized disease diagnosis and treatment of thyroid Cancer.
  • Built capacity of Uganda Bureau of Standards for monitoring food contaminants
  • Built capacity of Atomic Energy Council for regulating the use of atomic Energy in the country.
  • Supported the establishment of regional centres for animal disease diagnosis in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries.

Source: Uganda Embassy, Berlin