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International Atomic Energy Agency Commits More Support To Uganda’s Nuclear Field

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has pledged more support to Uganda by extending the existing Country Framework program to 2023. This was during the signing of the Country Program Framework 2019-2023 at the margins of the 63rd Regular Session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference, Vienna, Austria on Wednesday 19th September 2019.

Eng. Irene Muloni, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development and Mr. Dazhu Yang, the Deputy Director General/Head, Department of Technical Cooperation, IAEA signed the Country Programme Framework 2019 – 2023 on behalf of the Government of Uganda and the IAEA respectively.

Speaking shortly after the signing ceremony, Eng. Muloni lauded the IAEA for the continued support to Uganda’s nascent Nuclear Energy Program for use in peaceful purposes.

“Uganda appreciates the Agency’s continuous efforts in facilitating this cooperation and supporting Member States to benefit from the peaceful use of Nuclear Energy”, said Muloni.

Muloni added that this mutual agreement on Technical cooperation with the Agency will focus on Building Capacity in the areas of Food and Agriculture, Human Health, Water, Energy, Industry, Research, Nuclear Security and Radiation.

Ms. Sarah Nafuna, the head Nuclear Unit at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development revealed that over the past years, the IAEA made significant contribution towards supporting the national capacity to use nuclear applications for the social wellbeing of Uganda.

“Some of the key highlights for the technical assistance received included: the restoration of radiotherapy services after the breakdown of the only teletherapy machine in 2016, enhanced capacity for radiation safety, enhanced capacity to respond to food safety emergencies and support towards prefeasibility studies for the nuclear power programme. In all the areas of cooperation IAEA assistance was in terms of human resources development, provision of experts and state-of-the-art equipment”, said Nafuna.

In this framework, the Energy Ministry will continue coordinating and monitoring the technical cooperation programme between the Government of Uganda and the IAEA to realize outcomes across the various sectors including; an improved regulatory infrastructure for peaceful application of ionizing radiation in Uganda, improved capacity for early and efficient diagnosis, reporting and control of animal and zoonotic diseases, Increased /improved marketability and competitiveness of food agricultural products including exports to the international markets among others.

Country Programme Framework 2019 – 2023 serves as the frame of reference for the proposed technical cooperation between the Government of Uganda and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the period 2019-2023. It reflects an agreement between the Government of Uganda and the IAEA where nuclear science and technology can contribute directly and cost-effectively to national development priorities and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The document is the fourth revision and highlights the accomplishments and progress made under previous and present IAEA-supported projects.

Uganda continues to assess all the available energy resources to ensure sustainable exploitation of these resources. Prefeasibility studies conducted have shown that Nuclear Energy will play a role in the Electricity Generation Mix with a hope of about 1000MW being generated from the Nuclear Energy Plant.

By Drake Nyamugabwa

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