Uganda is set to become Africa’s third nuclear-powered country

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Uganda nuclear power plant

Due to its large uranium reserves, Uganda is on its way to building Africa’s third nuclear power plant and the first-ever in East Africa, the government has said.

The nuclear power plant would be built in collaboration with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and is expected to generate at least 1000 megawatts (MW) – a move to diversify Uganda’s electricity sources and accelerate its energy transition, which is a critical component of its climate change response.

Depending on when it is completed, Uganda might become the second or third African country with a nuclear plant, after South Africa, which has an operating plant, and Egypt, which has been constructing one since 2022.

According to a statement by Energy and Minerals Minister Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, the first nuclear project, the Buyende Nuclear Power Station, will be situated at Buyende, around 150 kilometres (93 miles) north of Kampala, the country’s capital.

“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,” she added.

Bloomberg reported in October of last year that Uganda was already seeking potential partners for the construction of East Africa’s first nuclear plant. After estimating the project’s cost at $9 billion, Bloomberg reported that the project was already underway.