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Nuclear power plant: Buyende residents warned against selling land to speculators

Minister Ruth Nankabirwa (c) at the presser

Minister Ruth Nankabirwa (c) at the presser

The ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has warned residents of Buyende district to desist from the hurried sale of their land to speculators who are targeting the Shs 34 trillion nuclear energy power plant project in 2031.

Government identified Buyende as one of the possible eight sites for the construction of a 2,000MW nuclear power project for the introduction of nuclear power in Uganda’s electricity generation mix after pre-feasibility studies in 2019.

Other potential sites for the construction of the subsequent nuclear plant for energy security and industrialization include Nakasongola and Lamwo districts among others.

In December 2021, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) endorsed Uganda’s nuclear energy power plant development following a successful review of the country’s nuclear infrastructure and potential.

According to Emmanuel Wamala, assistant commissioner nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, the project will need an estimate of one square mile of land for the nuclear energy power plant and additional 34 square miles to be gazetted for an emergency and safety zone of the population.

"The land requirement is estimated at about 30sq.km but the reason why we're looking at 30sq.km is because of the emergency zones. Where the nuclear plant will be is about 1sq.km enough to construct a plant of 2,000MW but for purposes of safety of the environment and the people around the nuclear plant, always gazette emergency zones around the nuclear power plant and this land may be utilised by the locals  - they can use it for farming as long as they don't exceed the required limit," said Wamala.

The minister of Energy Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu said preparations are ongoing to evaluate the Buyende nuclear power site and warned the residents to avoid selling their land to schemers targeting surface rights compensation from the government.

"Now, I want to use this opportunity to communicate to our people of Buyende where the site is to warn them from people who want to buy land in anticipation that they will get money when the time for surface rights comes. So people fish out for these opportunities. I call upon our people of Buyende not to rush to sell their land to speculators," said Nankabirwa.

Nankabirwa who was addressing journalists ahead of the African Nuclear Business Platform to be hosted by Uganda from Tuesday, March 14-17, 2023 at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo, pointed out that Uganda is experiencing an ever-increasing population, economic growth, and rising social needs that require sustainable development of energy resources to meet the country's Vision 2040 and National Development Plan (NDP) goals.

Both Vision 2040 and the NDP identify electricity and modern energy as critical drivers of the socio-economic transformation that will shift the country from a peasantry to an industrialized and predominantly urban society.

Studies conducted by the ministry of Energy indicate that the country’s energy sector comprises electricity generation from hydro, biomass, geothermal, solar, and peat potential, if fully developed, cannot meet targets envisaged under Vision 2040.

Uganda is among seven other countries in the sub-Saharan countries that have committed to integrating nuclear energy as part of their energy mixes from 2030-2037. The other counties are Ghana, Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda, Zambia and Nigeria.

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