KAMPALA - Uganda said on Thursday it expects to start generating at least 1000 megawatts (MW) from nuclear power by 2031 as it moves to diversify its sources of electricity and accelerate its energy transition, a key part of its climate change response.
Uganda has uranium deposits and President Yoweri Museveni has said his government was keen to exploit them for potential nuclear energy development.
The east African country has signed a deal with China under which the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) would help Uganda build capacity in the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
The first nuclear project, Buyende Nuclear Power Plant, would be located at Buyende, about 150 km (93 miles) north of the capital Kampala, Energy and Minerals Minister Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu said in a statement.
"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 1000 MW to be connected to the national grid by 2031," she said.
"Uganda is making firm steps to integrate nuclear energy into the electricity generation mix to ensure energy security and provide sufficient electricity for industrialisation."
In Africa, only South Africa at present has an operational nuclear power plant while Russia's state-owned energy corporation Rosatom last year started construction of Egypt's first nuclear plant.
Uganda has an installed generating capacity of about 1,500 MW but officials say they expect the country's energy needs to jump in coming years as earnings from oil exports fuel an economic boom.
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by George Obulutsa and Kim Coghill)